Matteo Valleriani

Research Group Leader (Since 1998)

Dr., Honorary Professor in History of Science at the Technische Universität in Berlin, Professor by Special Appointment at the Tel Aviv University

Matteo Valleriani is Research Group Leader in Dept. I, Honorary Professor at the Technische Universität Berlin, Professor for Special Appointments at the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University, and Principal Investigator of the Project “Images and Configurations in Corpora of University Textbooks” at the Berlin Center for Machine Learning.

In his research, he investigates processes of 1) emergence of scientific knowledge in relation to its practical, social, and institutional dimensions, and 2) homogenization of scientific knowledge in the framework of Cultural Heritage Studies.

Centering on cosmological knowledge, Matteo Valleriani’s current major research project is concerned with the evolution of the scientific knowledge system and with the establishment of a shared scientific identity in Europe in the period between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries. In the frame of this project he also co-develops and implements multi-layered network models (

A further focus of his research is on the epistemic function of visual material in scientific research and in the framework of processes of knowledge transformation. Within this context he co-develops and applies machine learning technologies.  

As leader of the working group “The Structures of Practical Knowledge” he investigated the epistemic mechanisms that integrated practical knowledge and its codification into abstract structures of scientific knowledge during the early modern period (The Structures of Practical Knowledge, Springer Nature, 2017).

His major projects have been dedicated to Galileo’s science (Galileo Engineer, Springer, 2010) and to Nicolò Tartaglia’s ballistics (Metallurgy, Ballistics and Epistemic Instruments: The “Nova Scientia” of Nicolò Tartaglia. A New Edition, Edition Open Access, 2013). Affiliated to the Excellence Cluster Topoi, he investigated the emergence of hydromechanics in classical antiquity (Hydrostatics and Pneumatics in Antiquity, in G. L. Irby (ed.), A Companion to Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). Matteo Valleriani worked on the processes of the appropriation of ancient science during the early modern period. He edited an issue of Nuncius (Appropriation and Transformation of Ancient Science, Nuncius, 29, 2014), which contains his final contribution to the study of the appropriation of ancient pneumatics through early modern garden technology (Ancient Pneumatics Transformed During the Early Modern Period, Nuncius, 29, 2014, 127–174: also http://pratolino.mpiwg-

Selected Publications

Laubichler, M. D., Wintergrün, D., Renn, J., Lalli, R., & Valleriani, M. (2015). Netzwerke als Wissensspeicher. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte.

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Feldhay, R., Renn, J., Schemmel, M., & Valleriani, M. (Eds.). (2018). Emergence and expansion of preclassical mechanics. Dordrecht: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-90345-3.

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Feldhay, R., Renn, J., Schemmel, M., & Valleriani, M. (2018). Introduction. In R. Feldhay, J. Renn, M. Schemmel, & M. Valleriani (Eds.), Emergence and expansion of preclassical mechanics (pp. IX-XIII). Dordrecht: Springer.

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Valleriani, M. (2017). Israel and Europe: building bridges via the history of science. Centaurus, 59(1-2), 160-165. doi:10.1111/1600-0498.12145.

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Digital Resources


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

The Renaissance Engineer’s Nature

Institute’s Colloquium, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

16th-century Professionals and Natural Philosophers: A Debate about Nature

3rd International Conference of the European Society for Early Modern Philosophy - Grenoble

The Renaissance Engineer’s Nature

Thomas Harriot Seminar, Durham

Organizer of Session: Experience as a Mechanism of Appropriation and Transformation of Ancient Science Speakers: Joyce van Leeuwen (University of Pittsburgh), Courtney Roby (Cornell University), Harald Siebert (Université de Versailles), and Matteo Valleriani (MPIWG)

Annual Meeting of the American History of Science Society, San Diego

The Organ of the Garden of Tivoli

Gardening and Knowledge. Landscape Design and the Sciences in the Early Modern Period - University of Hannover

Galileo’s Trattato della Sfera in the Context of the Tradition of Practical Astronomy

Tintenfass und Teleskop - Villa Vigoni, Italy

Mechanics and the Resistance of Materials

Matters of Weight - Kunsthistorisches Institut, Florence

Implementation of Water in Antiquity from the Near East to the Borders of the Roman Empire

My Anthropocene - Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Dir Struktur des praktischen Wissens. Italien. Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts

Technische Universität Berlin. Forschungscolloquium

Practical and Theoretical Knowledge in Early Modern Italy

Mathematical Life in the Dutch Republic - The Lorentz Center. Leiden, The Netherlands

The Garden of Pratolino: Ancient Science on the Workbench of the Renaissance Engineer

Fabrique et usage du jardin du XIVe au XVIIe siècle. Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours, France

Galileo Engineer

Evening lecture - Sternwarte Bruno H. Bürgel, Berlin

Galileo Engineer

Research Colloquium organized by Klaus Hentschel - Universität Stuttgart, Dept. for History of Sicnce and Technology

Galileo Engineer

Research Colloquium organized by Friedrich Steinle - Technische Universität, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science, Berlin

Galileo Engineer

Annual Meeting of the German Society for the History of Science (Ursula Klein's Panel) - Hannover

Galileo Engineer

HSS Annual Meeting - Phoenix, AZ

Galileo Engineer

BB Lecture organized by Kristie Macrakis - Dept. of History of Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Galileo Engineer

Evening lecture organized by Mario Biagioli - Dept. of History of Science, Harvard University

Hero’s Pneumatics: An Ancient Framework Tested and Approved at the Garden of Pratolino for the Development of Modern Science

"Garden Panel" organized by K. Park - Dept. of History of Science of Harvard University

Galileo’s Cancelled Project on Acoustic Instruments at the Medici Court

Colloquium Dept. II (Lorraine Daston) - Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

The Garden of Pratolino: Material Translation and Transformation of Hero’s Pneumatics

SHOT - Lisboa

Erone rinascimentale: le macchine pneumatiche di Pratolino

La cultura delle acque dal Medioevo al Rinascimento - Centro Leon Battista Alberti, Mantova (Italy)

Galileo Engineer: Exploring Galileo’s Practical Knowledge

Three Societies Meeting - Oxford, UK

The Garden of Pratolino: Ancient Technology Breaks Through Modern Iconology’s Barriers

Ludi Naturae. Transformations of an Ancient Topos in Science and Art - Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin (Germany)

The War in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso: Snap-Shot Of The Passage From Medieval to Early Modern Technology

War in Words - Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin (Germany)

Proseminar: Technologie und Geometrie: die frühneuzeitliche Revolution der Kriegskunst

Place: Technische Universität, Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni, 135

Proseminar: Das Experiment: eine Reise in den wissenschaftlichen Salon Robert Boyles

Place: Technische Universität, Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni, 135

1) Levers and Balances in the Middle Age and in the Renaissance; 2) "Scientia de ponderibus" and its consequences in the Renaissance; 3) Galileo Engineer

Internationa Summer School for the History of Science, Vinci (Italy)

Proseminar: Konzeptionen antiker Wissenschaft

Place: Technische Universität, Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni, 135

Proseminar: Galileo Galilei: die frühneuzeitliche Wissenschaft und ihr Kontext

Place: Technische Universität, Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni, 135

Antike Wissenschaft und technologische Entwicklung in der Literatur der frühen Neuzeit. Das Beispiel der Hofliteratur im 16. Jahrhundert: Ariostos Orlando Furioso

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Romanistik, Dorotheen str. 65, Berlin, wöchentlich Dienstag, 16-18 Uhr, Raum 4.73.