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Giuseppe Toaldo

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Priest and physicist, b. at Pianezze, 1719; d. at Padua, 1797. In his fourteenth year he entered the seminary of Padua, in which he subsequently taught mathematics and Italian literature. While connected with the seminary he edited the works of Galilei (1744), for which he wrote an appreciative preface and critical notes. In 1754 he was appointed pastor of Montegalda; and, eight years later, was called to the chair of astronomy in the University of Padua. Toaldo, like his contemporaries, Divisch and Beccaria (both priests ), gave special attention to the study of atmospheric electricity and to the means of protecting buildings against lightning. He advocated the erection of lightning-rods, adopting the views of Franklin on their preventive and protective action, rather than those of the French school led by Abbé Nollet. His treatise "Della maniera di difendere gli edificii dal fulmine" (1772) and his pamphlet "Dei conduttori metallici a preservazione degli edifici dal fulmine" (1774) contributed largely to remove the popular prejudices of the time against the use of the "Franklinian rod"; and through his exertions lightning-conductors were placed on the Cathedral of Siena, on the tower of St. Mark's, Venice, on powder magazines, and ships of the Venetian navy. Toaldo was a member of many of the learned bodies of Europe, notably of the Royal Society, London.

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