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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 459 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GIOVANNI DOMENICO CASSINI (1625-1712), the first of these, was born at Perinaldo near Nice on the 8th of June 1625. Educated by the Jesuits at Genoa, he was nominated in 165o professor of astronomy in the university of Bologna; he observed and wrote a treatise on the comet of 1652; was employed by the senate of Bologna as hydraulic engineer ; and appointed by Pope Alexander VII. inspector of fortifications in 1657, and subsequently director of waterways in the papal states. His determinations of the rotation-periods of Jupiter, Mars and Venus in 1665–1667 enhanced his fame ; and Louis . XIV. applied for his services in 1669 at the stately observatory then in course of erection at Paris. The pope (Clement IX.) reluctantly assented, on the understanding that the appointment was to be temporary; but it proved to be irrevocable. Cassini was naturalized as a French subject in 1673, having begun work at the observatory in September 1671. Between 1671 and 1684 he discovered four Saturnian satellites, and in 1675 the division in Saturn's ring (see SATURN); made the earliest sustained observations of the zodiacal light, and published, in Les Elements de l'astronomie verifies (1684), an account of Jean Richer's (163o–1696) geodetical operations in Cayenne. Certain oval curves which he proposed to substitute for Kepler's ellipses as the paths of the planets were named after him Cassinians." He died at the Paris observatory on the I Ith of September 1712. A partial autobiography left by Giovanni Domenico Cassini was published by his great-grandson, Count Cassini, in his Memoires pour servir d l'histoire des sciences (181o). See also C. Wolf, Histoirede l'observatoire de Paris (1902) ; Max. Marie, Histoire des sciences, t. iv. p. 234; R. Wolf, Geschichte der Astronomic, p. 450, &c.
End of Article: GIOVANNI DOMENICO CASSINI (1625-1712)

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