Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 4/22/2012 Next >>

Born and raised on a farm in Piedmont, Italy. I attended the Liceo classico Cavour in Turin and later studied at the University of Turin, graduating with high honours.

The University immediately hired me to assist professors Enrico D'Ovidio and Angelo Genocchi, assuming the teaching of the latter's infinitesimal calculus course due to his poor health (and death).

My first publications were a textbook on calculus (due partially to prior notes of Genocchi) and a text on mathematical logic, where I introduced the modern symbols for the union and intersection of sets.

My next creation was a space-filling curve, constructed as a counterexample to demonstrate that a continuous curve cannot always be enclosed in an arbitrarily small region...and was a precusor to fractals.

I began my Formulario Project, which was to produce an "Encyclopedia of Mathematics" eventually containing 4200 formulas and theorems in mathematics using my special notation.

The Formulario Project took too much of my time, and caused my teaching to suffer, leading to my dismissal as a teacher at the Royal Military Academy...but I retained my position at Turin University.

As the author of over 200 other books and papers, I am recognized as a founder of mathematical logic and set theory, including my eponymic axiomatization of the natural numbers and systematic treatment of mathematical induction.

Answer: Giuseppe Peano (1858 - 1932)