Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anne M. Koenig, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly P. Werder, Ph.D.


Accademia del Cimento, avvisi, history of science, scientific revolution, seventeenth century, Tuscany


This thesis explores changes in experimental reporting during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. In particular, I examine and compare some of the works of Count Lorenzo Magalotti, namely the Saggi di Naturali Esperienza or Essays on Natural Experiments and the Relazione d'Inghilterra. In 1667, as secretary of the Accademia del Cimento – the Tuscan experimental academy founded in 1657 – Magalotti (1637-1712) authored the Saggi, a collection of experimental reports. These reports included extensive written descriptions of experiments along with dozens of engravings depicting the instruments custom-made for the experiments. Magalotti also served as ambassador and agent of the Tuscan court and in the same year he traveled to England to offer a copy of the Saggi to King Charles II. While in England, Magalotti corresponded extensively with Prince Leopold and with the future grand duke, Cosimo III, reporting his observations of the English court: descriptions of political, military, and intellectual life at the court of Charles II. Magalotti’s account of his experience was compiled as Relazione d'Inghilterra in 1669. My work shows that the Saggi and the Relazione, although different in their content, emerged from the same historical context. I argue that the way information was conceived and organized, whether it originated from experimental practices (Saggi) or diplomatic actions (Relazione), changed over the course of the seventeenth century. Experimental reporting, like political reporting, became parceled into small, discrete units suited for high rates of information exchange.