maths, angel in heart
Getaldić caused real awe in his fellow- citizens with his experiments
with parabolic mirrors he performed in the cave of St. James, named
"Bete`s cave" after his own nickname. The mirrors destroyed
metals, lead and silver alike, at a distance. The stories have it
that Getaldić put in danger the ships sailing in the vicinity. One
such mirror, two meters in diameter, is displayed at the Maritime
Museum in Greenwich.
During his lifetime, Marin Getaldić (1568-1626)
enjoyed high esteem and glory all over Europe for his numerous scientific
works. The Dubrovnik Republic, however, preferred practical to theoretical
discoveries, so Getaldić had to earn his living as a notary and
public servant. In his letters to his contemporaries elsewhere,
he complained about his government's negligence concerning the progress
of basic theoretical disciplines. His family lived in a house at
St. James, right above a large cave (later named after Martins nickname).
In the 17th century, the cave was the source of real awe to Dubrovniker`s.
His experiments with parabolic mirrors destroyed metals at a large
distance, and traditions have it that Getaldić even set some ships
on fire. Among his historic achievements in his pioneer use of some
sort of hydrostatic scales for scientific purpose, and made his
calculations on the relative weight of eleven matters: gold, mercury,
lead, silver, copper, tin, honey, wine, wax and oil, He collaborated
and corresponded with the most reputable scientists in England,
Italy, France and Belgium., like Francois Viete and Galileo Galilei.
Between 1603 and 1607, he published five works. One of his most
important treaties "De resolutione et compositionem mathematica"
was published after his death (1630).
was a reputable councilor of the Minor and Mayor councils, took
part in diplomatic missions of the republic, was its envoy to Istanbul,
was a friend to pope Urban VIII who supported the publication of
his works. In 1604 he was assigned the fortification and restoration
of the Podzvizd Fort in Ston. Venetian scientist Paolo Scarpi qualified
Getaldić, the great mathematician and physicist, as " a devil
in mathematics, an angel in heart.
Source: Welcome to Dubrovnik l/II
Writen by: Lidija Crncević
Published by: Dubrovnik Tourist Board