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College of Jesus

Physics GalleryZoology GalleryScience Museum
Physics GalleryZoology GalleryChemical Laboratory

The College of Jesus is one of the spaces of the University of Coimbra less known, despite their importance for the history of the institution and for scientific development in Portugal.

Initially built by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) from 1542 - making it the oldest Jesuit college in the world - is was transferred to the University in 1759, due to the expulsion of the Company of Jesus of Portugal, by the Marquis of Pombal.

It will become the center of all the Reforms of the University, from 1772. Two new Colleges - Natural Philosophy and Mathematics - were created, and it was extensively refurbished to accommodate the Faculty of Medicine. Also the old refectory of the College, was reconstructed to serve as the "Laboratório Chimico" (Chemical Laboratory), now the Museum of Science.

The Physics Gallery exists in the context of the Reform by the transfer to Coimbra of Experimental Physics classes from the Royal College of Nobles and its tools from Lisbon. It was invited to direct it Giovanni dalla Bella, a reputed Italian physicist, who had already been at the College of Nobles - the collection of instruments was acquired during his direction – meanwhile returned to Padua. The original collection has several characteristics, among which we highlight its artistic richness and originality - this Gallery has the distinction of being honored by the European Physical Society for his historical interest.

The Zoology Gallery, is the responsibility of Domenico Vandelli, who, as Giovanni Dalla Bella, came to Portugal to teach at the Royal College of Nobles. In Coimbra, he's made director of the Science Museum, but it's mostly in Natural History that his work stands out. In addition to the Natural History Museum, he is also responsible for the organization of the Botanical Garden.

The collections presented here reflect donations to the University and the outcome of various “philosophic journeys” undertaken throughout the Portuguese Empire, under the direct patronage of the Crown, at the end of the 18th century.