Biography of Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão (1685-1724)

Engineer and Brazilian Jesuit priest, born in Santos the month of December 1685 and died in Toledo (Spain) November 18, 1724. He/She is considered the pioneer of Aeronautics, by being the first to present in public, documented form, able to soar helped by hot air balloon.

Known by the nickname of "Flying father", Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão studied in Belém (Bay), then he/she joined the society of Jesus, and in 1708, he/she moved to Portugal, where he/she studied Canon law at the University of Coimbra, ordered priest. He/She worked as Professor of mathematics and as chaplain of the Royal House of Juan V. He/She had a great reputation as a preacher.

Father Gusmão was a man of great intelligence and knowledge of the works of Descartes, Leibniz, Newtonand his contemporaries Bernoulli and Maclaurin, among others. As it was customary at the time, he/she worked in various fields of knowledge, including mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry and Philology. His skills were recognized both in Brazil and Portugal. During his stay in the Seminary of Bay, built a mechanism allowing to raise water from the River to the Highlands of the hills. Once in Portugal, he/she worked on the project of building a flying machine; He/She came to test it in 1809, even in front of the King and Court, managing to get more than 20 spans of the soil, a thick paper balloon, which placed a bowl of fire. Why he/she did not hesitate in targeting King Juan V, applying for a patent to build an "instrument that was invented to go by air". At your request also exposed you the advantages of this machine for communications, both for war and trade. April 17, 1709, his request was approved by the King, and Gusmao joined as Professor of mathematics at the University of Coimbra, with a prize of 600,000 reais to develop his invention. His ideas were extremely advanced for its time, that ignorant that ridicule the invention poured in and the inventor, apodando to Bartolomeu "Father flying" and putting his invention the "Passarola" nickname. In any case, the father failed to gather the necessary funds to build balloons older, nor raise the interest who would have been able to invest and move forward with the project whose feasibility had been demonstrated with his experiments, and he/she would be done 60 years later (1783) in Paris by the French brothers Montgolfier, based on the same technological principles of Gusmao. On the other hand, his experiments gave rise to suspicions of the Inquisition, which considered them effect of witchcraft and wizardry. This forced him to flee to Spain where he/she died in a hospital of Toledo charity. His remains are entombed in the Church of San Román, in Toledo.