Giuseppe Piazzi

Born in Ponte in Valtellina in 1746, Giuseppe Piazzi entered the Theatine Order in 1764 and was ordained as a priest in 1769. He taught philosophy in Genoa, mathematics in Malta, and dogmatic theology in Rome. In 1781, he joined the Royal Academy of Studies in Palermo to teach calculus. He then taught astronomy, again in Palermo. Here, he was director of the Astronomical Observatory, inside the Royal Palace, the latter commissioned by Ferdinand III of Sicily. The Observatory was notable for being equipped with state-of-the-art instruments such as the Ramsden Circle, made by Jesse Ramsden, and a dome. In 1801 the asteroid Ceres Ferdinandea was discovered and identified.