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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013

Curricula: Science

Science, in the broadest sense, refers to any system of knowledge which attempts to model objective reality.

In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

NOTE: This is not an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is provided here for the benefit of those interested in pursuing additional studies in this area.


I. Acquisition of Scientific Knowledge

II. Science and the Church

"Does not the condemnation of Galileo prove the implacable opposition of the Church to scientific progress and enlightenment?" It may be replied with Cardinal Newman that this instance serves to prove the opposite, namely that the Church has not interfered with physical science, for Galileo's case "is the one stock argument" (Apologia).
-- John Gerard in the article "Galileo"

III. Disciplines

A. Physics
Three practical units have been named after Catholic electrical pioneers:
B. Origins of Life
  • Life - addresses questions on the origin and nature of life
C. Biology
D. Time
E. Medicine

IV. Biographies

A. Astronomers
  • Eugenius I - Archbishop of Toledo; famous as an astronomer and astronomical mathematician
  • Dungal - Irish monk, teacher, astronomer, and poet
  • Averroes - Arabian philosopher, astronomer
  • Sacrobosco, Joannes de - English monk; astronomer, mathematician
  • Clavius, Christopher - German Jesuit; mathematician, astronomer; reformed calendar under Pope Gregory XIII
  • Ricci, Matteo - Jesuit; founder of the Catholic missions in China; used mathematics and astronomy to gain their trust
  • Galilei, Galileo - famous for his work in mechanics, and especially of dynamics, optics, and astronomy
  • Scheiner, Christopher - German Jesuit; astronomer; anatomist; pantograph inventor; famous for pioneering work on sunspots
  • Galien, Joseph - Dominican, professor of philosophy and theology, meteorologist, physicist, writer on aeronautics
  • Pingre, Alexandre Guy - professor of astronomy; member of the Academie des Sciences; 40 years of meticulous observation
  • Bouvet, Joachim - Jesuit missionary in China; mathematician; surveyor; astronomer
  • Mayer, Christian - Jesuit; professor of mathematics and physics in the University of Heidelberg; astronomer
  • Piazzi, Giuseppe - Theatine monk; mathematician, astronomer; built observatory in Sicily; discovered Ceres
  • Oriani, Barnaba - Italian priest; astronomer; director of Observatory of Brera
  • Inghirami, Giovanni - Italian priest; professor of mathematics, astronomy; director of the San Giovannino observatory
  • Binet, Jacques-Philippe-Marie - French mathematician, astronomer; professor; devout Catholic
  • Kreil, Karl - Benedictine educated; Austrian meteorologist and astronomer; director of the Prague Observatory
  • Vico, Francescoe - Jesuit; professor of mathematics, astronomy; director of the Roman College Observatory; composer
  • Lamont, Johann von - Astronomer; physicist; professor of astronomy (University of Munich); director of Bogenhausen Observatory
  • Heis, Eduard - German astronomer; chair of mathematics and astronomy at (University of) Munster;
  • Secchi, Angelo - Jesuit; astronomer, astrophysicist, meteorologist; doctor of theology
  • Serpieri, Alessandro - Italian ecclesiastic; seismologist, astronomer, physicist
  • Denza, Francesco - Italian ecclesiastic; meteorologist, astronomer; director of the Vatican Observatory
  • Clerke, Agnes Mary - devout Catholic; prolific writer on astronomy and astrophysics; honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society
B. Mathematicians
  • Stevin, Simon - prolific treatises on trigonometry, geography, cosmography, perspective; calculus; finance
  • Ricci, Matteo - Jesuit; founder of the Catholic missions in China; used mathematics and astronomy to gain their trust
  • Arrighetti, Nicola - distinguished as a litterateur, but chiefly as mathematician and philosopher; prominent disciple of Galileo
  • Castelli, Benedetto - Benedictine abott; physicist; civil engineer; mathematician to Pope Urban VIII
  • Mersenne, Marin - French ecclesiastic; theologian, philosopher, and mathematician
  • Gassendi, Pierre - French ecclesiastic; doctor of theology, professor of mathematics at College Royal; astronomer
  • Stansel, Valentin - Jesuit; missionary; taught mathematics, astronomy
  • Cavalieri, Bonaventura - Italian ecclesiastic; mathematician; illustrious disciple of Galileo
  • Laplace, Pierre-Simon - Mathematical and physical astronomer, called the Newton of France; born and died Catholic
  • Halma, Nicholas - French mathematician; scholar of ancient astronomy
  • Guglielmini, Giovanni Battista - Italian ecclesiastic; professor of mathematics at the University of Bologna
  • Ampere, Andre-Marie - French physicist and mathematician; published in calculus, chemistry, zoology; founded electro-dynamics and electro-magnetics fields
  • Cauchy, Augustin-Louis - Celebrated French mathematician; true Catholic savant
  • Coriolis, Gaspard-Gustave de - French mathematician; researcher in theoretical and applied mechanics
  • Anderson, Henry James - professor of mathematics and astronomy in Columbia College; zealous convert; founded The New York Catholic Protectory
  • Casey, John - Third Order of St. Francis; professor of higher mathematics and mathematical--Catholic University (Dublin)
  • Respighi, Lorenzo - Mathematician, one of the most prominent Italian astronomers of the nineteenth century.
  • Faa di Bruno, Francesco - Italian mathematician, inventor, priest; professor of Mathematics at Turin University
  • Carbonnelle, Ignatius - Belgian Jesuit; missionary to India; professor of mathematics and astronomy at Louvain
C. Mechanicians
D. Physicians
  • Agricola, George - Physician, mineralogist, historian, and controversialist; strenuous defender of Catholic faith
  • Caius, John - physician and scholar; royal physician, but dismissed due to his Catholic Faith
  • Lilius, Aloisius - Professor of medicine, University of Perugia; principal author of the Gregorian Calendar
  • Pare, Ambroise - French surgeon; first surgeon and chamberlain to King Charles IX; lifelong Catholic
  • Theophraste Renaudot - a pioneer in relief work for the poor, journalism, and medicine
  • Perrault, Claude - successful physician, anatomist, architect and author; inventor; scholar of physics, chemistry, zoology
  • Sorbait, Paul de - Ph.D. in Philosophy and Medicine; professor of medicine, University of Vienna
  • Redi, Francesco - Italian poet; physician to the Grand dukes Ferdinand II and Cosimo III
  • Malpighi, Marcello - founder of comparative physiology; papal physician; professor of medicine (Papal Medical School)
  • Morgagni, Giovanni Battista - Called the "Father of Modern Pathology", a distinguished Italian physician and investigator in medicine
  • Galvani, Luigi - Italian physician; noted surgeon; researcher in comparative anatomy and physiology
  • Pierre-Desault, Joseph - Jesuit educated; surgeon and anatomist; member, Academy of Surgeons
  • MacNeven, William James - Barred from schooling because he was Catholic; distinguished Irish-American physician and medical educator
  • Ruffini, Paolo - physician-lecturer and celebrated mathematician; zealous Catholic apologist
  • Larrey, Dominique-Jean - Called "he first and the greatest" of military surgeons for many ingenious surgical inventions and significant advances in clinical surgery
  • Windischmann, Karl Joseph Hieronymus - Court physician; professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Bonn
  • Laennec, Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe - French physician, father of modern pulmonary disease research; invented the stethoscope
  • McLoughlin, John - Physician and pioneer; convert to the Faith; known as the Father of Oregon
  • Veith, Johann Emanuel - Director of the school of veterinary medicine at Vienna; botanical medicine; convert to the Faith; Redemptorist preacher;
  • Rolph, Thomas - English surgeon; Catholic apologist
  • Muller, Johann - Professor of anatomy at Berlin; founder of modern physiology; loyal Catholic
  • Corrigan, Sir Dominic - Physician; heart disease researcher; President of Dublin Pathological Society, of the Dublin Pharmaceutical Society, and five times of the College of Physicians in Dublin
  • Skoda, Josef - Celebrated clinical lecturer and diagnostician and co-founder of the modern medical school of Vienna
  • Feuchtersleben, Baron Ernst Von - Austrian poet, philosopher, and physician; authored "Principles of Medical Psychology"
  • Nelaton, Auguste - Called "one of the greatest of French surgeons of the nineteenth century"; member of the Paris Academy of Medicine
  • Schwann, Theodor - German physiologist; founder of the theory of the cellular structure of animal organisms; prolific researcher
  • Noble, Daniel - Physician; member of the Royal College of Surgeons; specialized in mental disease
  • Semmelweis, Ignaz Philipp - Physician; discoverer of the cause of puerperal fever
  • Van Buren, William Home - Distinguished American surgeon; professor of anatomy and surgey; convert to the Faith
  • Kneipp, Sebastian - Bavarian priest and hydro-therapeutist
  • Hingston, William Hales - Canadian physician and surgeon; professor of clinical surgery; Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pius IX
  • O'Dwyer, Joseph - Physician; inventor of intubation; fervent Catholic
E. Anatomists
  • Mondino dei Lucci - Medieval anatomist; his textbook was used for centuries
  • Vesalius, Andreas - Professor of surgery and anatomy at Padua; reorganizer of the study of anatomy
  • Colombo, Matteo Realdo - First professor of anatomy at University of Pisa; discoverer of the pulmonary circulation
  • Fortunato of Brescia - Spanish ecclesiastic; pioneer in anatomical microscopy; morphologist
  • Fallopio, Gabriello - Multi-talented physician; professor of anatomy; discovered the fallopian tube; prolific researcher
  • Fabricius, Hieronymus - Distinguished Italian anatomist and surgeon
  • Perrault, Claude - Successful physician, anatomist, architect and author; inventor; scholar of physics, chemistry, zoology
  • Steno, Nicolaus - Eminent Danish anatomist and geologist, convert and saintly bishop
  • Dupuytren, Guillaume - French anatomist and surgeon
  • Hyrtl, Joseph - Austrian anatomist; educator and textbook author; chair of anatomy at Vienna; firm opponent of materialism
F. Physicists
  • Aristotle - greatest of the ancient Greek philosophers
  • Grosseteste, Robert - "No one really knew the sciences, except the Lord Robert, Bishop of Lincoln" --Roger Bacon.
  • Blessed Albertus Magnus - (ALBERT the GREAT), scientist, philosopher, and theologian
  • Roger Bacon - philosopher, author, mathematician, scientist, astronomer
  • Mariotte, Edme - French physicist; noted researcher in hydrostatics and gases
  • Duhamel, Jean-Baptiste - French scientist, philosopher, and theologian; parish priest
  • Hautefeuille, Jean de - French ecclesiastic; physicist; noted for work on horology, acoustics, optics
  • Amontons, Guillaume - Experimental physicist; important discoveries on pressure, temperature, vacuums, instrumentation
  • Poleni, Giovanni - Professor of astronomy at Padua; chair of physics; professor of mathematics; hydraulic engineer; architect; antiquarian
  • Divisch, Procopius - Norbertine; doctor of theology; parich priest; experimentalist in hydraulics, electricity; inventor (first lightning rod, instrumentation)
  • Galien, Joseph - Dominican; professor of philosophy, theology (University of Avignon); meteorologist, physicist; and writer on aeronautics
  • Imhof, Maximus von - German Augustinian; physicist; publications in electro-physics, physical chemistry; director, Munich Academy of Sciences
  • Biot, Jean-Baptiste - physicist, mathematician, astronomer; high-altitude atmospheric experimentalist; more devout in later life
  • Ampere, Andre-Marie - French physicist and mathematician; published in calculus, chemistry, zoology; founded electro-dynamics and electro-magnetics fields
  • Zamboni, Giuseppe - Priest; physicist; invented the "dry" battery and other electrical devices
  • Koller, Marian Wolfgang - Benedictine; director of the Kremsmunster observatory; woked in astronomy, physics and meteorology
  • Babinet, Jacques - French physicist; famous for work in optics, but also physics and mechanics
  • Zantedeschi, Francesco - Priest; physicist; chair of physics, University of Padua; researcher in electro-magnetism, electro-dynamics, optics
  • Despretz, Cesar-Mansuete - chemist and physicist; foundational work in modern heat physics; Catholic apologist
  • Matteucci, Carlo - physicist; important studies in electro-statics, electro-dynamics, electro-physiology; physics chair (University of Pisa)
  • Desains, Paul-Quentin - chair of physics (Sorbonne); geo-magnetism; heat physics;
  • Foucault, Jean-Bertrand-Leon - Physicist, mechanician; famous for Foucault pendulum; notable instrumentation inventor; prolific experimentalist; Catholic
  • Fizeau, Armand-Hippolyte-Louis - physicist; Foucault collaborator; determined experimentally the velocity of light; convinced Catholic
  • Mendel, Gregor Johann - Priest; Abbot; physics teacher (Realschule); famous for work in hybridization
  • Pernter, Joseph Maria - Professor of cosmic physics (University of Innsbruck); director of the Central Meteorological Institute (Vienna)
  • Branly, Edouard - French physicist; physician; inventor; "discovered the principle of wireless telegraphy"; divided his time between the practice of medicine and his research in physics (Catholic University); devout Catholic
G. Chemists
  • Regnault, Henri Victor - Chemist; physicist; chair of physics (College de France); notable work in organic and physical chemistry
  • Sainte-Claire Deville, Charles - meteorologist, geologist, molecular physicist; member of French Academy of Sciences
  • Pasteur, Louis - Chemist, founder of physio-chemistry, father of bacteriology, inventor of bio-therapeuties; devout Catholic
H. Naturalists
  • Belgrado, Giacopo - Italian Jesuit; professor of mathematics and physics (Parma University); natural philosopher
  • Ulloa, Antonio de - Naval officer; geo-physical scientist; credited with establishing first natural history museum
  • Fontana, Felice - Italian naturalist; physiologist; organized the Florence museum's geological, zoological, physical and astronomical instruments collections
  • Mutis, Jose Celestino - Ecclesiastic; eminent naturalist and scientist in South America
  • Endlicher, Stephan Ladislaus - Austrian botanist, linguist, and historian; collected 30,000 species of plants
  • Van Beneden, Pierre-Joseph - Curator, natural history museum (University of Louvain); professor of zoology and comparative anatomy (Catholic University)
  • Forster, Arnold - German entomologist, botanist; devout Catholic
  • Tulasne, Louis-Rene - French botanist; noted mycologist; professed his desire to glorify God by his scientific labors
  • Parlatore, Filippo - Italian botanist; prolific collector and writer; devout Catholic
  • Castracane degli Antelminelli, Francesco - Italian Jesuit; naturalist; one of the first to use microphotography in biology
  • Provancher, Leon Abel - Canadian priest; naturalist; known as the "Father of Natural History in Canada"
  • David, Armand - Missionary priest, zoologist (China); the International Scientific Congress of Catholics reports a collection of 200 mammal species and 807 bird species
I. Geologists
  • Waagen, Wilhelm Heinrich - geologist and paleontologist; university professor; geological survey of India; loyal Catholic

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