Person: Bidone, Giorgio
Giorgio Bidone was an Italian engineer, mathematician and an experimenter in the field of hydraulics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The new laws imposed in the state of Savoy forced Bidone to abandon his religious studies and, as a consequence, he dedicated himself to studying mathematics and science.
- Because of the abilities he had demonstrated, in 1799 Bidone was accepted into the Collegio delle Province.
- While studying at this College, Bidone also studied at the University of Turin.
- In 1803 Bidone graduated in mathematics and hydraulic engineering at the University of Turin, and in 1805 he was awarded a degree in civil architecture.
- His work on elliptic functions was, however, soon overtaken by that of Abel and Jacobi who introduced a new setting which meant that Bidone's paper was soon forgotten except by Giovanni Plana who published two further papers based on this paper by Bidone.
- Bidone also carried out an argument with French mathematicians in the Annales de mathématiques Gergonne in 1810-1811 about the solution of the problem of constructing, in a given triangle, three circles each of which is tangent to the other two and the two sides of the triangle.
- In 1811 Bidone was nominated acting professor and in 1815 he was appointed to the chair of hydraulics at the University of Turin.
- At the start of his university career, Bidone found support from the Count Prospero Balbo (1762-1837), the interior minister and rector of the university.
- As a university professor, Bidone was an advisor to the Government of this region.
- It is worth noting that the hydraulic legislation in Piedmont, compiled with Bidone's technical contribution, was not just at the forefront in Italy; the new Law that Carlo Alberto implemented clearly in twelve articles, numbered from 622 to 633, involving the introduction of maintenance of aqueducts, first introduced in practice by the Duke of Milan, spread to other parts of Europe.
- As an hydraulics expert, Bidone was also called on to conduct advisory work in practical questions connected to the region, questions that in time were called "affari d'acque" Ⓣ(Water affairs).
- After his initial mathematical period, Bidone's prevailing interests focused on experimental hydraulics, in which he achieved great scientific success, starting from the publication of work Experiences sur le remou et sur la propagation des ondes Ⓣ(Experiments on eddies and on the propagation of waves) (1820), which made him known on a European level.
- Bidone also played an important role in teaching mathematics at the University of Turin and, in 1842, he was appointed to a new professorship in descriptive geometry.
- As a researcher, Bidone adopted an interesting method for his scientific discipline, reflected in the published memoirs of the Academy of Sciences of Turin.
- Many consider the memoir Expériences sur le Remou et sur la propagation des ondes Ⓣ(Experiments on eddies and on the propagation of waves) (1820) to be Bidone's masterpiece.
- This 1820 paper also contains an investigation of what has been called the Salto di Bidone Ⓣ(Bidone's jump) that occurs when a fast flowing current reaches the conditions of a slow current, dissipating part of its kinetic energy in a vortex.
- We mentioned above the hydraulics laboratory at Parella, to the west of Turin, where Bidone conducted his experiments.
- We are fortunate to have accounts of Bidone's character from those who knew him well.
- Bidone led a solitary life, as a single man who made few friendships, fully dedicated to teaching, study and scientific research and apparently hardly interested in historical events, that during his life unsettled Europe.
- Massimo d'Azeglio provides a very lively portrait of Bidone as an intelligent and sensitive educator.
- Bidone began to teach him mathematics, but he understood immediately that there was no use in forcibly instructing; he therefore adopted a crafty Socratic method to gradually convince him, with tact and without preaching, to engage with method and to persevere in the things that he believed in, which was primarily painting, and in the end he succeeded with his educational task.
- After a long and painful illness, endured with resignation, Giorgio Bidone died in Turin aged 58.
Born 19 January 1781, Rosano, Casalnoceto, Tortona, Piedmont, now Italy. Died 25 August 1839, Turin, Kingdom of Sardinia, now Italy.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Italy
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive