Biography of Juan Bautista Corachán (1661-1741)

Mathematician, physicist and astronomer Spanish born in Valencia in 1661 and died in 1741.

He studied at the University of Valencia where he graduated in arts and a doctorate in theology. His interest in mathematics was, apparently, quite early, to write a didactic work entitled Ameno and deleytable garden of mathematics at eighteen. He attended the gatherings and academies of a private nature in the city, enabling environment in which scientific concerns were developed. One of his teachers in the field of astronomy and mathematics was Felix Falco's Belaochaga, friend and collaborator of José de Zaragoza during this stay in Valencia, to whose house went Corachán to make observations of eclipses, planets, etc. He attended, as a Secretary, the "Academy of Mathematics" which was held to 1686 in casa de Iñigo Baltasar.

In 1696, Corachán, after having acted as a teacher for four years "for its own sake with the license of the Chancellor without any useful" obtained the Chair of mathematics at the University of Valencia. From his position of Professor and his prestige in the city as a scientist, Corachán attempted to introduce reforms in the teaching of the Sciences of the adamantine Estudi General. He worked in teaching of Euclid and modern versions and gave lessons out program about various topics in physics, astronomy, geography, etc., which are preserved two manuscripts titled Dissertationes Physico-Mathematicae (dated 1704) and former Dissertationes Physico-Mathematica (1720). At the beginning of the 18th century, with a view to the possible reform of constitutions, it drew up a comprehensive and detailed report entitled appointment for the constitutions have been of hazer at the famous University of Valencia as regards the mathematics (a report that would use Gregorio Mayáns and Císcar several decades later in his Idea of the new method that you can practice in the teaching of the universities of Spain). We ignore if Corachán was heard, but in any case, the succession war truncated the possible reform plans and were the constitutions of 1733, with regard to the departments of mathematics, mere primitives (1611) Castilian version. In 1720, he requested retirement, which was granted. From then on, his scientific activity appears to decrease significantly, as it is clear from the study of his manuscripts. However, in 1740 it is still part of the project of the printer and mathematician Antonio Bordázar of forming a "Academia Valenciana Mathematica".

In life of Corachán they reached only print two of his scientific works. In 1682 he published a booklet of seven pages on the Comet of that year, the famous Halley's Comet. In this booklet, Corachán exposes its observations, which unequivocally affirms the celestial nature of the phenomenon and attributed to the Comet a straight-line trajectory. In 1699 appeared the Arithmetica theorico velhas - practice, primarily didactic work of which include emphasis on demonstrations. Dead already Corachán, Gregorio Mayáns and Císcar published two of his works: notices of the Parnassus and Mathesis Sacra.

Scientific manuscripts of this author, acquired by Gregorio Mayáns and Ciscar heirs, are distributed in more than 50 volumes. They constitute a priceless testimony of the enormous effort developed by Juan Bautista Corachán to incorporate, assimilate and disseminate new scientific and philosophical currents in the Valencian environment. Its content is very varied: extracts from authors of the 17TH century, Jesuit mainly scientific works; a copy of an algebra text composed from d' algebra Traité (1690), Michel Rolle and the Elements des mathématiques, Jean Prestet; works of astronomy including description of astronomical systems, among which Corachán says to accept the Copernican hypothesis and the Tycho Brahe as an expression of the true physics of the universe, and references to the keplerianos ellipses, although depending on the version of Bouilleau-Ward; manuscripts of geography, chronology, astronomical tables, hydrography and meteors; several texts of "hydrometry" Domenico Guglielmini -based and other authors; texts of mechanics (simple machines), local motion, dynamic bass, hydrostatic, optical (according to Descartes and Francisco María Grimaldi), optical instruments such as microscopes, telescopes, etc. Along with this, it is worth noting important absences: the geometry of Descartes and Pierre de Fermat , and infinitesimal calculus; in physics, knowledge of Corachán predate the Newtonian "great synthesis". The conceptual basis is characterized by an eclecticism taken sometimes to the extreme of trying to reconcile completely opposing ideas. However, at least two of the essential features of the new science are present in Corachán: mathematics as a language and as a methodological criterion experimentation.



Publications and articles of Juan Bautista Corachán: discourse on the Comet that appeared this year 1682, (1682 Valencia). Proven Arithmetica theorico - practice, (Valencia: J. Bordázar, 1699); new impressions in Barcelona (1719, 1735 and 1757). Notices of the Parnassus, (Valencia: VDA A. Bordázar, 1747). Mathesis Sacra, (Valencia: VDA A. Bordazar, 1757).NAVARRO BROTONS, Víctor: "inventory of scientific manuscripts contained in the library Mayansiana", at the first Congress of history of the Valencian country, vol. 1, pp. 591-606, (Valencia, 1973).


V., Ximeno: writers of the Kingdom of Valencia, vol. II, pp. 267-268, (Valencia: J. E. Dolz, 1749).CEÑAL, Ramón: "Spanish philosophy of the seventeenth century", in the magazine of the University of Madrid, no. 11, pp. 52-56 and 373-410, (1962).PESET LLORCA, Vicente: The University of Valencia and the Spanish scientific renewal (1687-1727), pp. 214-231, (1964).LÓPEZ PIÑERO, José M.: The introduction of modern science in Spain, (Barcelona: Ariel 1969).GARCÍA MARTÍNEZ, Sebastián: Els fonaments del País Valencià, modern, (Valencia: Garbi, 1968).NAVARRO BROTONS, Victor: The renewal of the physical-mathematical sciences in the Valencia preilustrada, pp. 367-369, (1972).NAVARRO BROTONS, Victor: The scientific revolution in Spain. Tradition and renewal in the physical-mathematical sciences, (thesis of Valencia, 1978).

Víctor Navarro Brotons