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Ruđer Josip Bošković

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Roger Joseph Boscovich (Croatian: Ruđer Josip Bošković, 18 May 1711 – 13 February 1787) was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, Jesuit priest, and a polymath from the Republic of Ragusa. He studied and lived in Italy and France where he also published many of his works.

Boscovich produced a precursor of atomic theory and made many contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for coputing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position. In 1753 he also discovered the absence of an atmosphere on the Moon.

Notwithstanding the arduous duties of his professorship, he found time for investigation in various fields of physical science, and he published a very large number of dissertations, some of them of considerable length. Among the subjects were the transit of Mercury, the Aurora Borealis, the figure of the Earth, the observation of the fixed stars, the inequalities in terrestrial gravitation, the application of mathematics to the theory of the telescope, the limits of certainty in astronomical observations, the solid of greatest attraction, the cycloid, the logistic curve, the theory of comets, the tides, the law of continuity, the double refraction micrometre, and various problems of spherical trigonometry.

In 1742, he was consulted, with other men of science, by Pope Benedict XIV, as to the best means of securing the stability of the dome of St. Peter’s, Rome, in which a crack had been discovered. His suggestion of placing five concentric iron bands was adopted.

Science Meets Faith:

In Vienna in 1758, he published the first edition of his famous work, Philosophiæ naturalis theoria redacta ad unicam legem virium in natura existentium (Theory of Natural philosophy derived to the single Law of forces which exist in Nature), containing his atomic theory and his theory of forces.

Here he wrote:

“…as for the Divine Creator of Nature, my theory distinctly shows the need that He should be fully recognized, and also His Supreme Power, Wisdom, and Providence … There is no room for the worthless phantasms of those who think that the world appeared by chance, or that it has always existed by itself, governed by its own laws of necessity.”

He was a member of London’s Royal Society and professor of mathematics at the University of Pavia. He founded the Brera Astronomical Observatory in Milan.


According to some sources, Nikola Tesla claimed that Theory of Relativity concepts were advanced 200 years prior to Einstein by the same Boscovich (Uknown source):

“the relativity theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Ru?er Boškovic’, the great philosopher, who, not withstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Boškovic’ dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum…”

In his modern scientific thinking about the structure of the universe, Boscovich was ahead of his time: He came to the conclusion that matter is composed of particles that have powers of attraction and repulsion, and in 1748, he proposed a model for the structure of the atom. In the 19th century, scientists were aware that Boscovich’s theories of forces prefigured modern physics by nearly two centuries. British physicist Joseph John Thomson is said to have remarked that his own theory of the atom is pure “Boscovichian.”

Video Title: Ruggiero Boscovich and his time. Source: Ruggiero Boscovich. Date Published: December 22, 2012. Description:
Educational documentary about Ruggiero Boscovich, produced by University of Pavia.


Video Title: Mystery of Tesla and Boscovich: Prof Stoiljkovich. Source: Roger Anderton. Date Published: November 22, 2015. Description:
Professor Stoiljkovich talks about his investigations into Tesla and Boscovich, and some of the mysteries around them. The book “Roger Boscovich – The founder of modern science” can bee free downloaded from the site: many other articles about Boscovich can be downloaded from site:

Video Title: Roger Boscovich, the eighteenth-century polymath. Source: The Royal Society. Date Published: December 10, 2013. 


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