Beccaria, Giambattista (jämˌbät-tēˈstä bāk-kärēˈä) [key], 1716–81, Italian physicist. He joined the Piarist order in 1732 and studied in Rome and Narni. After teaching at various Italian universities he became professor of physics at Turin in 1748. Against the Cartesians there, he upheld Franklin's electrical theories, which he systematized and disseminated in his important Dell'elettricità (1753). His contributions include a classification of luminous discharges, the invention of the electrical thermometer, and the collection of data on atmospheric electricity.
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