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5 Science in the Italian Exile

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers three episodes of Jesuits expelled from Paraguay and Rio de la Plata who pursued scientific activities in Italy: Juarez's cultivation of a garden of plants from the Indies, Termeyer's publication of his experiments on the electric eel carried out in his Chaco mission, and the astronomical researches of Alonso Frias. Walsh postulates the electrical nature of the torpedo on the basis of the analogies between the effects of a Leyden jar and the shock produced by the fish; he attributes the puzzling differences, such as the absence of spark and crackling sound to the particular kind of electricity generated in living beings. Termeyer's overall strategy consisted in trying to obtain from the fish the usual effects of static electricity. The creation of the Royal Observatory of Cádiz as an integral part of the existing Naval Academy was part of this impulse.

Keywords: Alonso Frias; Jesuits; Juarez; Royal Observatory of Cádiz



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