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Eye, Mind, Hand: Filippo Pacini’s Microscopy

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Filippo Pacini (1812-1883) remained throughout his life a somewhat isolated researcher, constantly struggling against obstacles of all kinds – and hindered by his own difficult character – but a solemn celebration was held post mortem in his honor. At that time his many merits were praised by a number of distinguished colleagues, and his reputation was redeemed. This essay will attempt to show how his work as an anatomist and microscopist was always based on the primacy of the visual, which enabled him to identify specific entities – such as the tactile corpuscles and the Vibrio cholerae bacterium – and divine their essential significance.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge, University of Pisa, Italy,


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