Person: Levi, Beppo
Beppo Levi was an Italian mathematician who wrote articles on logic, differential equations, complex variable, as well as on the border between analysis and physics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Beppo Levi studied mathematics at the University of Turin, beginning his studies in 1892.
- He became Levi's thesis advisor, and Levi's thesis Sulla varietá delle cordi di una curva algebraica was a brilliant piece of work adding to the outstanding work of the Italian school of geometry.
- For the last three years of study at the University of Turin, Levi was supported by a scholarship which he had won.
- After graduating in July 1896, Levi was appointed as an assistant to Luigi Berzolari at Turin and he held this position until 1899.
- During these seven years as a school teacher, Levi had tried to obtain a number of different university appointments but he was not successful.
- While in Cagliari, Levi did some outstanding work on the arithmetic of elliptic curves which he published in four papers entitled Saggio per una teoria aritmetica delle forme cubiche ternarie (one paper in 1906, and three in 1908).
- The year Levi left Cagliari he had been promoted to an ordinary professorship there, but he was so keen to leave that he was prepared to accept a lower rank at Parma at a university which did not offer the laureate in mathematics.
- However, Mario Pieri, who had been one of Levi's teachers at Turin, was at Parma and was keen to have his former student join him there.
- Once in Parma, Pieri became Levi's closest friend.
- As well as the chair of algebraic analysis, Levi also held the chair of analytic geometry and, for a year, the chair of mathematical physics too.
- After the war ended, Levi renewed his efforts to introduce the laureate in mathematics in Parma.
- Levi signed the counter-manifesto, as did Leonida Tonelli, Vito Volterra, Guido Castelnuovo, Tullio Levi-Civita and Francesco Severi.
- All the mathematicians left except Levi who became professor of special mathematics and president of the school of chemistry.
- However, despite these extreme difficulties, Levi's years in Parma had been ones in which he had greatly extended the already broad range of research topics he had studied.
- He had also studied the theory of integration, partial differential equations and the Dirichlet Principle, producing the famous "Beppo Levi theorem" and spaces now called "Beppo Levi spaces".
- At Bologna, Levi had a heavy teaching and administrative load, yet he continued to undertake research with the same passions as he had done throughout his life.
- Let us look now at Analisi Matematica Algebrica ed Infinitesimale which Levi published in 1937.
- Rather than complete the work previously begun, Levi offers us the present book, which can probably be regarded as a somewhat briefer version of both the written and the unwritten parts of the 'Introduzione'.
- Levi intended, it seems, to write a text requiring previous knowledge only of "algebra through quadratics" and of the elements of trigonometry.
- Despite his hatred of Fascism, Levi had signed the "oath to Fascism" in 1931 along with around 1200 other mathematicians (only eleven refused to sign).
- This resulted in Levi being dismissed from his position in Bologna in 1938.
- Cortés Plá invited Levi to be the director of the recently founded mathematical institute at the Universidad del Litoral in Rosario.
- Remarkably, although Levi was 64 when he took up the positions of professor and director of the Institute in Rosario, he was able to continue to teach, undertake research and undertake administrative duties for a further 20 years.
- In 1947 Levi published Leyendo a Euclides (Reading Euclid).
- In 1956 Levi received the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize from the Accademia dei Lincei.
- Levi died in Rosario at the age of 86 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery there.
Born 14 May 1875, Turin, Italy. Died 18 August 1961, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive