Domenico Bertoloni Meli

Domenico Bertoloni Meli

Provost Professor, History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine

Director of Undergraduate Studies


  • Ph.D., History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University, 1988

About Domenico Bertoloni Meli

Domenico Bertoloni Meli received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in the History and Philosophy of Science in 1988. He has received many fellowships and grants, most recently a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, worked at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin, and received fellowships and grants from Indiana University, the Dibner Institute, the National Science Fioundation, the Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine, and Jesus College, Cambridge.

Professor Bertoloni Meli has widespread research interests, including the mathematical and medical disciplines from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, especially mechanics and anatomy. His most recent book is Mechanism, Experiment, Disease: Marcello Malpighi and Seventeenth-Century Anatomy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). He has published many articles and books.

Publication highlights


Mechanism. A Visual, Lexical, and Conceptual History (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 2019).

Visualizing Disease. The Art and History of Pathological Illustrations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Mechanism, Experiment, Disease: Marcello Malpighi and Seventeenth-Century Anatomy (Baltimore: the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011).

Guidobaldo del Monte (1545-1607). "Mathematiche" e tecnica da Urbino all'Europa (Berlin: Max Planck Open Access, 2013), coedited with Enrico Gamba and Antonio Becchi.

Thinking with Objects: the Transformation of Mechanics in the 17th Century, (Baltimore: the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

Marcello Malpighi, Anatomist and Physician, edited volume, (Florence: Olschki, 1997), Biblioteca di Nuncius, XXVII, (hereafter: MAP).

Equivalence and Priority: Newton versus Leibniz. Including Leibniz's Unpublished Manuscripts on the "Principia", (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, paperback edition, 1997).

Special journal issues

Special issue on Vivisection of the Journal of the History of Biology (46.2, 2013), 167-313, coedited with Anita Guerrini.

The Representation of Animals in the Early Modern Period, special issue of Annals of Science (67.3, 2010), 299-429, coedited with Anita Guerrini.

Observation and Experiment in Mechanistic Anatomy, special issue of Early Science and Medicine (13.6, 2008), 531-709, coedited with Rebecca Wilkin.

Exhibition catalogues

Coordinator of the exhibition Anatomia Animata at the Lilly Library (together with Allen Shotwell and Joel Klein)

Coauthor of An “University Within Ourselves”. Sciences in Cambridge in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Whipple Museum, 1999).

Sphaera Mundi. A catalogue of early astronomy books in the Whipple Museum: 1478-1600, (Cambridge: Whipple Museum, 1994), coauthored with James A. Bennett.

Research articles

"Early Modern Experimentation on Live Animals", Journal of the History of Biology, 46 (2013), 199-226.

"Machines of the Body Between Anatomy and Pathology", in Aurélia Gaillard, Jean-Yves Goffi, Bernard Roukhomovsky, and Sophie Roux, eds, Modèle Métaphore Machine Merveille (Bordeaux:
Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 2012), 53-68.

"Reliability and Generalization in Early Modern Anatomy", in Maria Teresa Monti, ed., La tradizione galileiana e lo sperimentalismo naturalistico d'età moderna (Florence: Olsckhi, 2011), 1-26.

“The Color of Blood: Between Sensory Experience and Epistemic Significance”, in L. Daston and E. Lunbeck, eds, Histories of Scientific Observation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011), 117-34.

“Patterns of Transformation in Seventeenth-Century Mechanics”, The Monist, 93 (2010), 578-95.

“The Representation of Insects in the Seventeenth Century: A Comparative Approach”, Annals of Science, 67 (2010), 405-29.

“The Axiomatic Tradition in 17th-Century Mechanics”, in M. Dickson and M. Domski, eds, Synthesis and the Growth of Knowledge (Chicago: Open Court, 2010), 23-41.

“A Lofty Mountain, Putrefying Flesh, Styptic Water, and Germinating Seeds. Reflections on Experimental Procedures from Périer to Redi and Beyond”, in M. Beretta, A. Clericuzio, and L.M. Principe, eds, The Accademia del Cimento and its European Context (Science History Publications, 2009), 121-34.

“The Collaboration between Anatomists and Mathematicians in the mid-17th Century. With a Study of Images as Experiments and Galileo’s Role in Steno’s Myology, Early Science and Medicine, 13 (2008), 665-709.

“Experiments in Newton’s Principia: the First Edition”, in M Bucciantini, M. Camerota, and S Roux, eds, Mechanics and Cosmology (Florence: Olschki, 2007), Biblioteca di Nuncius LXIV, 187-99.

“Mechanistic Pathology and Therapy in the Medical Assayer of Marcello Malpighi”, Medical History, 51 (2007), 165-80.

“Inherent and Centrifugal Forces in Newton”, Archive of History of Exact Sciences, 60 (2006), 319-35.

“Mechanics”, in L. Daston and K. Park, eds, The Cambridge History of Early Modern Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 632-72.

“Who is Afraid of Centrifugal Force?”, Early Science and Medicine, 10 (2005), 535-41.

“The Role of Numerical Tables in Galileo and Mersenne”, Perspectives on Science, 12 (2004), 164-90.

“Motion and Mechanics”, in D. Garber, ed., The Scientific Revolution (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2003), 501-29.

“Newton and the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence”, in I.B Cohen and G. Smith, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Newton. (Cambridge, 2002), 455-64.

“Blood, Monsters, and Necessity in Malpighi’s De polypo cordis”, Medical History, 45 (2001), 511-22.

“Authorship and Teamwork Around the Cimento Academy”, Early Science and Medicine, 6 (2001), 65-95.

“Francesco Redi e Marcello Malpighi: ricerca anatomica e pratica medica”, in W. Bernardi and L. Guerrini, eds, Francesco Redi (Firenze, Olschki, 1999), 73-86.

“Caroline, Leibniz, and Clarke”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 60 (1999), 469-86.

“The Archive and Consulti of Marcello Malpighi”, Archives of the Scientific Revolution, ed. by M. Hunter (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1998), 109-20.

“Shadows and Deceptions: from Borelli's Theoricae to the Saggi of the Cimento”, The British Journal for the History of Science, 31 (1998), 383-402.

“The New Anatomy of Marcello Malpighi”, MAP, 17-60.

“The Posthumous Dispute between Borelli and Malpighi”, MAP, 245-73.

“Additions to the Correspondence of Marcello Malpighi”, MAP, 275-308.

“The Neoterics and Political Power in Spanish Italy: Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and his Circle", History of Science, 34 (1996), 57-89.
A reduced Italian version appeared in C. Dollo, ed., Filosofia e scienze nella Sicilia dei secoli XVI e XVII, vol. 1 (Catania, 1996), 183-9.

“The Emergence of Reference Frames and the Transformation of Mechanics in the Enlightenment”, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 23:2 (1993), 301-35.

“St. Peter and the Rotation of the Earth: The Problem of Fall around 1800”, The Investigation of Difficult Things, ed. by A. Shapiro and P. Harman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 421-47.

“Guidobaldo dal Monte and the Archimedean Revival”, Nuncius, 7.1 (1992), 3-34.

“Public Claims, Private Worries: Newton's Principia and Leibniz's theory of Planetary Motion”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 22 (1991), 415-49.

“The Relativization of Centrifugal Force”, Isis, 81 (1990), 23-43.

“Some Aspects of the Interaction between Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Leibniz”, The Leibniz Renaissance (Florence: Olschki, 1989),  9-22.

“Leibniz on the Censorship of the Copernican System”, Studia Leibnitiana, 20 (1988), 19-42.

“Leibniz's Excerpts from the Principia Mathematica”, Annals of Science, 45 (1988), 477-506.