The physicist and experimental chemist Alessandro Volta died in Como (Italy). He elaborated the concept of voltage and electric potential and developed the electrophorus and the battery. Volta also examined the thermology and physics of gaseous states. A man of deep faith, he prayed each day and attended daily Mass, although some historians detect a Jansenist tendency in him. During the years in which he taught at the High School in Como, he was a catechist in the parish of Saint Donnino where to this day a memorial plaque attests that “teaching the catechism here made way for the miracle of the battery.”
Pierre-Simon de Laplace died in Paris. A French physicist and mathematician, he further developed Newton's theory of gravitation, establishing a dynamic basis for the solar system and celestial mechanics. His name is linked to the birth of modern mechanics, which is utilized as a global representation of real physics. The discovery of mathematical instability and the complexity of many phenomena would lead in stages to successfully clarifying many basic propositions. Laplace’s name is also frequently associated with “ejecting the hypothesis of God” from celestial mechanics (a hypothesis present in Newton). This view is captured in an exchange between Laplace and Napoleon, in which Napoleon asked him what role God played in his mechanistic explanation of the solar system, to which Laplace responded, “Sir, I have no need of such a hypothesis.”
400° Anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine (1615)
The Encyclopedia, published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329).
In order to make some relevant documents better known in the scientific community, the section provides key materials for study and reflection concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology.