Giambatista Beccaria, Italian clergyman and scientist, 1750s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Gius Rados. Beccaria (1716-1781) was a clergyman who taught philosophy and rhetoric in Palermo and Rome. In 1748 he was appointed Profesor of Physics at the University of Turin. Between 1760 and 1774 he carried out a measurement of the meridian in Piedmont, Italy. Due to the speed at which earthquakes travel acros land and sea, he deduced that earthquakes must be caused by electrical strokes. Dimensions: 390mm x 500mm.