Vatican Post has recently issued stamp on 300th Birth Anniversary of Rugerius Boscovich.Born in Ragusa in Dalmatia (Dubrovnik) in 1711, Boscovich studied at the Jesuit College located in his birthplace. At a very young age, he entered the novitiate in 1725 and moved to Rome to study at the Roman College. He excelled greatly in pure mathematics and physics, so much so that he became a professor of math at the College. Pope Benedict XIV had him as a consultant for all important technical questions and various projects including the fortification of the dome of St. Peter’s when in 1742 he proposed using concentric steel supports. Benedict XIV had him measure the area of the Papal State, and in 1755 he published the first map of the territory.
Boscovich oversaw the construction of the Brera College and Observatory in 1764, and also the first project for building the Roman College Observatory in place of the dome (never realized) of the Church of St. Ignatius. The deterioration of relations in the Milanese context and the suppression of the Society of Jesus forced him to move to Paris in 1773 where Louis XV created for him the prestigious position of Director of Optics for the Marine. In 1783 Boscovich decided to return to Italy. He died in Milan in 1787 and was buried in the Church of Santa Maria Podone. This year Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to the life of Boscovich noting his service as a Jesuit physicist, astronomer, mathematician, architect, philosopher and diplomat. The Pope noted, “His life shows that it is possible to harmonize science and faith, service to the motherland and commitment to the Church”.