Francesco Redi

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Redi is featured in many modern-day science textbooks due to his experiment.
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Redi is featured in many modern-day science textbooks due to his experiment.

Francesco Redi (February 18/19, 1626March 1, 1697) was a physician born in Arezzo, Italy. He is most well-known for his experiment in 1668 which is regarded as a one of the first steps in refuting abiogenesis. At the time, prevailing wisdom was that maggots formed naturally from rotting meat. In the experiment, Redi took 3 jars and put meat in each. He tightly sealed one, left one open, and covered the top of another with gauze. Maggots appeared on the meat in the open jar, but not in the sealed one, and maggots also hatched on the gauze cover of the gauze jar.

He continued his experiments, by capturing the maggots and waiting for them to hatch, which they did, becoming common flies. Also, when dead flies or maggots were put in sealed jars with meat, no maggots appeared. But, when the same thing was done with living flies, maggots did appear. (Experiments on the generation of insects by Francesco Redi, trans. by M. Bigelow, Chicago, 1909)

Redi was also a poet, his best known work being Bacchus in Tuscany.

A crater on Mars was named in his honor.

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