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Lazzaro Spallanzai, was the Italian physiologist who was one of the founders of
experimental biology. Born in Scandiano, a small town in the providence of Emilia on
Jan. 12, 1729 , Spallanzani was among the many dedicated philosophersof the eighteeth
century (Lazzaro...1). His main scientific interests were biological and was a master at
mircoscopy,but he also looked into problems of physics,chemistry, geology, and
meteorology, and volcanology (Gillispie,1).
After attending a local school, Spallazani went at afe fifteen to a Jesuit seminary
in Reggio Emilia where he dominated in rhetoric, philosophy, and languages. He left
Reggio Emilia in 1749 to study jurisprudence at the ancient University of Bologna, where
he expanded is education in mathematics, chemistry, natural history, and aquired
a knowledge of French (Asimov,1). For three years he worked toward his docterine in
law. In 1753 or 1754 he became a doctor of philosophy. Then, he recieved instructions in
metaphysics and theology and took minor orders. Within a few years he became a priest
and added himself to two congregations in Modena (Gillispie,2).
Spallanzani, in hundreds of experiments tested various rituals for rendering
infusions permanently barren and finally found that they remained free of
microorganisms when put into flasks that were sealed and the contents boiled for one
hour (Lazzaro...1).The entrance of air into the flask through a slight crack in its neck was
followed infusoria. He reported no spontaneous generation in strongly heated infusions
protected from aerial contamination. In 1765, after cutting up thousands of earthworms
and exploiting the ability of the aquatic salamander to regrow its tail, he resolved to
investigate reproductive phenomena in animals ans plants(Gillispie,3). He proved this by
cuting theworms the area that affected the segmental regenerative response. Amputation
of the tailwas followed by vascularization of the transparent growing stump. He also
established the general law that in susceptible species inverse ratio obtains between the
regenerativecapacity and age of the animal. Lazzaro launched countless experiments
relating to infusion animalcules and "spermatic worms," with result that soon made
chimera of thevegetatice force and undermined the docterine of organic molecules; but
these ideasdemanded more attention so they were postponed (Asimove,2). He also found
that complex infusoriaare more susceptible to heat and cold than the "infinitely minute"
germ of lower class,whose relative resistance he ascribed to their eggs. In 1777 he
publicly demonstrated the great force exerted by the gizzards of fowls and ducks in
polverizing hollow glass globules thus confirming Redi\'s century-old account. He studied
the circulation of blood through the lungs and experimented on digestive juices, which he
observed, were specialized for disgesting different foods. Attempting to discover what
part of the semen was essential for generation, he filtered samples from amphibians and
discovered that the higher the filteration, the less likely was the development of an egg.
Spallanzani had adopted the newchemical docterine that developedfollowing the
discoveries, mainly by British chemists, of carbon dioxcide, hydrogen,nitrogen, and
oxygen during the period 1755-1774. In 1768 he reported there findings in Prodromo di
un opera da imprimersi sopra le riproduzioni animaki, which he intended as a prelude to
a major work on animal reproduction (Gillispie,5). Spallanzani in the year of 1788
journeyed to the Two Sicilies, mainly in order to correct deficiencies in the volcanic
collections of the museum. He also went to the volcano Enta and tested the flow of the
lava by going five feet close to it. He reported that bellowing gas explosions forced the
red hot lava out and ejected massive rocks, which later helped the science of volcanology
(Astimov,2). In 1789 to 1790 he climbed the Modense Apennines carrying
chemicalappartus for examing the natural gas fires of Barigazzo and the salses. Two
years later, he made further studies of eels at Lake Comacchio. In his last experiments he
tried to demonstrate how body tissues convert what is now knows as oxygen into carbon
Lazzaro Spallanzani suffered from an unlarged prostate complicated by a chronic
bladder infection. On February 11, 1799 shortly after his seventeith birthday, he became
anuric and fell unconscious (Lazzaro..1). Throughout his life time Spallanzani had
recieved many honors, including membership in the ten most distinguished Italian
academies, and foreign associateship in a dozen famous European scientific societies.
He\'d also had his work published in several different volumes
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Fellows of the Royal Society, Lazzaro Spallanzani, Physiologists, Scandiano, Spallanzani, Reggio Emilia, Microorganism, Abiogenesis, University of Bologna
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