Giovanni Antonio Scopoli

Conte Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, Johann Anton Scopoli ( born June 13, 1723 in Cavalese, † May 8, 1788 in Pavia ) was an Austrian physician and naturalist. His official author abbreviation is " Scop. ".

Life and work

Scopoli was born in Cavalese in Val di Fiemme, the son of a lawyer. At Innsbruck University, he earned a medical degree and then practiced in Cavalese and Venice as a doctor.

Much of his time he devoted to the study of animal and plant life of his native Tyrol. He put to extensive plant and insect collections.

After working two years as a private secretary to the Prince-Bishop of Seckau Leopold Ernst von Firmian, he joined in 1754 a position as a doctor in a mercury mine in Idria in Carniola region of Slovenia today at. He spent 16 years in constant conflict with the director, who accused him of spending too much time with his scientific investigations.

His 1760 published Flora carniolica describes about 1,600 native plants, including 56 previously unknown. The 1763 published Entomologica carniolica is now considered major work of entomology. In the years 1760-1775 Scopoli maintains a lively correspondence with Linnaeus.

In the winter of 1760 he began the study of earths and ores, with which the most benevolent Creator has enriched the Idrianischen mercury mines, with the solid Entschlusse to put them at my expense to the light, as it is done .. The resulting therefrom work Introduction to the knowledge and use of fossils as a system of earth and miners ( minerals ) he used as the basis for his lectures on the Elementae Metallurgiae dogmaticae and practicae. 1769 went Scopoli as a professor of chemistry, mineralogy and metallurgy at the Mining Academy in Schemnitz (today Banská Štiavnica ). In 1777, he was appointed to the chair of Natural History at the University of Pavia, where he taught until his death in chemistry and botany. In Pavia, he worked on the side of Lazzaro Spallanzani.

Honors and Memberships

The alkaloid scopolamine bears his name. The plant genus belladonna ( Scopolia Jacq. Corr. Link ) was named after him.

Scopoli was a member of Agriculturgesellschaft in Steyer, Gorizia and Gradisca.


  • De affectibus animi dissertatio physico- medica. Trento 1753.
  • Flora Carniolica. Edler von Trattner, Vienna 1760; 2nd edition, Vienna 1772.
  • Entomologica carniolica. Edler von Trattner, Vienna 1763rd
  • Annus I- V historico - naturalis. Hilscher, Leipzig 1768-72. ( Contains original descriptions of species for still valid scientific names)
  • Introduction to the knowledge and use of fossils. For the studies in power. Publisher John Frederick Hart Knochs, Riga and Mietau in 1769. (An early classification of minerals and rocks )
  • Observations from natural history. Leipzig 1770.
  • Treatise from carbon burning. Vienna 1771st
  • De Hydrargyro Idriensi tentamina physico- chymico -medicating. Jena, Leipzig 1771st
  • Price - writing on the question of the causes of the lack of fertilizer in Goertz and Gradisca. Vienna 1771st
  • Dissertationes ad scientiam naturalem pertinentes. Gerle, Prague 1772.
  • Principia mineralogiæ systematicæ et practicæ succincte exhibentia structuram Telluris. Gerle, Prague 1772.
  • Crystallographia Hungarica. Gerle, Prague 1776.
  • Fundamenta chemicae praelectionibus publicis accomodata. Gerle, Prague 1777.
  • Introductio ad historiam naturalem. Gerle, Prague 1777.
  • Principi di mineralogia. Venice 1778.
  • Fundamenta botanica. Wappler, Pavia, Vienna 1783-86.
  • Rudiments of metallurgy. Mössle, Swan & Götz, Vienna, Mannheim 1786-89.
  • Deliciae Flora et Fauna Insubricae. Salvatoris, Pavia 1786-88.
  • Elementi di chimica e di farmacia. Pavia 1786.
  • Physico-chemical treatment of Idrianischen mercury and vitriol. Lindau, Munich 1786.
  • Treatise of the bees and their care. Vienna 1787 (Translated by Charles Meidinger ).