List of Jesuit scientists
The Jesuits have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. For example, they have dedicated significant study to earthquakes, and seismology has been described as "the Jesuit science." The Jesuits have been described as "the single most important contributor to experimental physics in the seventeenth century." According to Jonathan Wright in his book God's Soldiers, by the eighteenth century the Jesuits had "contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter's surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn's rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon affected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light."
The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China. One modern historian writes that in late Ming courts, the Jesuits were "regarded as impressive especially for their knowledge of astronomy, calendar-making, mathematics, hydraulics, and geography." The Society of Jesus introduced, according to Thomas Woods, "a substantial body of scientific knowledge and a vast array of mental tools for understanding the physical universe, including the Euclidean geometry that made planetary motion comprehensible." Another expert quoted by Woods said the scientific revolution brought by the Jesuits coincided with a time when science was at a very low level in China.
This is a list of Jesuit scientists, who contributed somehow to science. Members of the Society of Jesus have a historical and occasionally controversial role in the history of science. These are Jesuits who were notable scientists and were not required to be of any significance in discussing the relationship between religion and science. Also, included are fictional characters of Jesuit scientists in literature as well as historical people. It is chronologically arranged by date of death.
- Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), Italian mathematician and translator, noted for his importance to the Jesuit China missions
- Christopher Clavius (1538–1612), German mathematician and astronomer, most noted in connection with the Gregorian calendar, his arithmetic books were used by many mathematicians including Leibniz and Descartes
- François d'Aguilon (1567–1617), Belgian mathematician and physicist who worked on optics
- Marco Antonio de Dominis (1560–1624), Dalmatian scienctist who wrote about rainbows and tides
- Giuseppe Biancani (1566–1624), Italian astronomer and selenographer who wrote Sphaera mundi, seu cosmographia demonstrativa, ac facili methodo tradita
- Wenceslas Pantaleon Kirwitzer (1588–1626), Czech astronomer and missionary to China
- Charles Malapert (1581–1630), Belgian astronomer known for observing the stars of the southern sky and being against Copernicus
- Christoforo Borri (1583–1632), Italian mathematician and astronomy who made observations on the magnetic variation of the compass
- Christoph Grienberger (1561–1636), Austrian astronomer and mathematician
- Christoph Scheiner (c.1573–1650), German astronomer noted for a dispute with Galileo Galilei over the discovery of sunspots
- Giovanni Battista Zupi (c.1590–1650), Italian astronomer who discovered that Mercury had orbital phases
- Jean-Charles de la Faille (1597–1652), Belgian mathematician
- Alexius Sylvius Polonus (1593–c.1653), Polish astronomer
- Gerolamo Sersale (1584–1654), Italian Selenographer, the crater Sirsalis is named after him
- Johann Baptist Cysat (1587–1657), Swiss mathematician and astronomer, who did important research on comets and the Orion nebula
- Mario Bettinus (1582–1657), Italian mathematician and astronomer
- Michał Boym (c. 1602–1659), Polish missionary to China known for botanical and zoological works
- André Tacquet (1612–1660), Flemish mathematician whose work prepared the ground for the eventual discovery of calculus
- Francesco Maria Grimaldi 1618–1663), Italian physicist, coined the word 'diffraction' and used instruments to measure geological features on the Moon
- Antoine de Laloubère (1600–1664), French mathematician who studied the properties of the helix
- Gaspar Schott (1608–1666), German scientist who wrote on various mechanical and scientific topics, for example the gear, but did little original research
- Grégoire de Saint-Vincent (1584–1667), Flemish mathematician
- Niccolo Zucchi (1586–1670), Italian astronomer known for his study of Jupiter and work on telescope design
- Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598–1671), Italian astronomer who was the first to note that Mizar was a "double star"
- Albert Curtz (1600–1671), German astronomer
- Jacques de Billy (1602–1679), French mathematician who wrote on number theory and astronomy
- Athanasius Kircher (1601–1680), German who in his Scrutinium Pestis of 1658 he noted the presence of "little worms" or "animalcules" in the blood, and concluded that the disease was caused by micro-organisms; this is antecedent to germ theory
- Valentin Stansel (1621–1705), Czech astronomer in Brazil, who discovered a comet, which, after accurate positions were made via F. de Gottignies in Goa, became known as the Estancel-Gottignies comet
- Georg Joseph Kamel (1661–1706), Czech missionary and botanist, the genus Camellia is named for him
- Paolo Casati (1617–1707), Italian scientist, notable in meteorology and speculation on vacuums
- Franz Reinzer (1661–1708), Austrian writer who wrote about comets, meteors, lightning, winds, fossils, and metals
- Eusebio Kino (1645–1711) Trentino missionary, mathematician, cartographer and astronomer; drew maps based on his explorations first showing that California was not an island as was then believed; published an astronomical treatise in Mexico City based on his observations of the Kirsch Comet
- Bartolomeu de Gusmão (1685–1724), Brazilian naturalist noted for developing the first working aerostats
- Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri (1667–1733), Italian mathematician who was perhaps the first European to write about Non-Euclidean geometry
- Tommaso Ceva (1648–1737), Italian mathematician and poet who wrote a work on geometry
- Michel Benoist (1715–1774), missionary to China and scientist
- Vincenzo Riccati (1707–1775), Italian mathematician and physicist
- Giuseppe Asclepi (1706–1776), Italian astronomer
- Christian Mayer (1719–1783), Czech astronomer known for his pioneering study of binary stars
- Roger Joseph Boscovich (1711–1787), Ragusan Polymath famous for his atomic theory in part; also for devising perhaps the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position
- João de Loureiro (1717–1791), Portuguese mathematician and botanist active in Cochinchina
- Maximilian Hell (1720–1792), Hungarian director of the Vienna Observatory who wrote astronomy tables and observed the Transit of Venus
- Ignacije Szentmartony (1718–1793), Croatian who obtained the title of royal mathematician and astronomer and used his astronomical knowledge in mapping parts of Brazil
- Franz de Paula Triesnecker (1745–1817), Austrian astronomer
- Josef Dobrovský (1753–1829), philologist, linguist, slavist and historian; one of the most prominent people in the Czech national revival
- Juan Ignacio Molina (1740–1829), Chilean ornithologist, botanist with an author citation
- Angelo Secchi (1818–1878), Italian astronomer who discovered the existence of solar spicules and drew an early map of Mars
- Joseph Bayma (1816–1892), Italian mathematician who did work relating to stereochemistry
- Benito Viñes (1837–1893), Spanish scientist who led the Bethlehem College Observatory in Havana and was known as “Father Hurricane” because of his research on hurricanes
- Pierre Marie Heude (1836–1902), French missionary and zoologist
- Manuel Magri (1851–1907), Maltese folklorist and archaeologist
- Eugène Lafont (1837–1908), Belgian founder of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
- Gyula Fényi (1845–1927), Hungarian astronomer noted for his observations of the Sun
- Franz Xaver Kugler (1862–1929), German mathematician, most known for his study of cuneiform tablets as well as being a chemist
- Erich Wasmann (1859–1931), Austrian entomologist known for Wasmannian mimicry
- James Cullen (1867–1933), Irish mathematician, known for the Cullen numbers
- Theodor Wulf (1868–1946), German physicist who was among the first experimenters to detect excess atmospheric radiation
- Émile Licent (1876–1952), French Jesuit trained as a natural historian; spent more than 25 years researching in Tianjin, China
- Joseph Maréchal (1878–1944), Belgian philosopher and psychologist
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955), French palaeontologist and philosopher involved in the discovery of the so-called Peking Man
- Paul McNally (1890–1955), American astronomer who was a director of the Georgetown Observatory
- James Macelwane (1883–1956), American seismologist
- Lluis Rodés (1881-1939), Spanish astronomer and director of Observatorio del Ebro, wrote El Frmamento
- Alberto Dou Mas de Xaxàs (1915-2009), Spanish mathematician, former president of Real Sociedad Matemática Española and author of many books
- Luís Archer (1926-2011), Portuguese molecular biologist and editor of the journal Brotéria from 1962 to 2002
- Roberto Busa (1913-2011), Italian priest pioneer in the usage of computers for linguistic and literary analysis
- Guy Consolmagno (1952-), American astronomer who has primarily devoted himself to planetary science; received his B.A. (1974) and M.A. (1975) from M.I.T. and earned a Ph.D. (1978) from the University of Arizona;, Director of the Vatican Observatory succeeding José Gabriel Funes in September 2015
- George V. Coyne (1933-), American astronomer whose research interests have been in polarimetric studies of various subjects including Seyfert galaxies
- Kevin T. FitzGerald (1955-), American molecular biologist and holds the Dr. David Lauler chair in Catholic Health Care Ethics at Georgetown University
- José Gabriel Funes (1963-), Argentine astronomer at the Vatican Observatory (ex-Director)
- Frank Haig (1928-), American physics professor
- Michael C. McFarland (1948-), American computer scientist and president of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts
- Bienvenido Nebres (1940-), Filipino mathematician, president of Ateneo de Manila University, and an honoree of the National Scientist of the Philippines award
The 'Jesuit scientist' has been used as a character of faith in several works of science fiction; some examples include:
- Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez - character in James Blish's A Case of Conscience
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell features several Jesuit scientists, with the main one being the linguist Emilio Sandoz.
- The Star by Arthur C. Clarke features a Jesuit scientist in a prominent role.
- Father Paul Duré, a Jesuit theologian, archaeologist, ethnologist, and follower of Teilhard de Chardin - a character in Dan Simmons's novel Hyperion
- Christopher Sim - in Jack McDevitt's A Talent For War (Ace, 1989)
- Susan Elizabeth Hough, Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man, Princeton University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-691-12807-3, p. 68.
- Lindberg, David C.; Numbers, Ronald Leslie (1986). God and nature. Historical essays on the encounter between Christianity and science. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-520-05538-1; ISBN 978-052005-538-4.
- Wright, Jonathan (2005). God's Soldiers. Adventure, Politics, Intrigue, and Power--A History of the Jesuits. New York City: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. p. 200. ISBN 0-385-50080-7; ISBN 978-038550-080-7.
- Patricia Buckley Ebrey, p. 212.
- Woods, Thomas E. (2005). How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing. p. 101. ISBN 0-895-26038-7; ISBN 978-089526-038-3.
- Fairfield University on Jesuits in science (via archive.org)
- Loyola University Chicago - Jesuits and the Sciences page