Person: Menabrea, Luigi Federico
Luigi Menabrea was a French-born soldier and engineer who made contributions to elasticity theory and became prime-minister of Italy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Another who wished to drive out the Austrians was Cavour who, like Menabrea, was at this time following a military career.
- Cavour resigned and he was replaced in 1831 by Menabrea.
- Menabrea soon moved from the fortress of Bardo to become professor of mechanics and construction at both the Military Academy of the Kingdom of Sardinia and at the University of Turin.
- However, Menabrea was assigned to the task, something which must have disappointed Babbage since Plana was a distinguished scientist whereas he had almost certainly never heard of Menabrea.
- However the congress was a great success and in addition to Babbage's lectures there were discussion sessions on the Analytical Engine which involved Babbage, Menabrea, and the Italian astronomer Ottaviano Mossotti.
- Menabrea wrote up the lectures, modified with ideas from the discussions, in the paper Notions sur la Machine Analytique de M Charles Babbage Ⓣ(Basics of the alalytic engine of Charles Babbage) which was published in French in Bibliothèque Universelle de Genève in October 1842.
- Menabrea was sent on a diplomatic mission to Modena to make sure that it remained part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
- After this Menabrea entered the Parliament of Piedmont and was attached to the Ministry of War, then later to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The principle of Menabrea states that the elastic energy of a body in perfect elastic equilibrium is a minimum with respect to any possible system of stress-variation compatible with the equations of the statics of continua in addition to the boundary conditions.
- Castigliano, with whom Menabrea was in dispute regarding this principle, became better known for the concepts of work and energy in analytical mechanics.
- Menabrea later published two further papers answering the criticisms of Castigliano.
- Menabrea resumed a leading military role as major-general and commander-in-chief of the engineers in the Lombard military campaigns.
- Peschiera, at the southeast end of Lake Garda, was one of the four fortified towns of the Austrians and Menabrea organised the siege works against it.
- Menabrea was present at Palestro when Manfredo Fanti scored a brilliant victory against Austria.
- In 1861 Menabrea was appointed lieutenant-general and was involved in conducting the seige of Gaeta.
- Menabrea was given full authority by the Kingdom of Italy to negotiate with Austria the hand over of Venetia at the Treaty of Prague at the end of the war.
- On 27 October 1867 Menabrea succeeded Urbano Rattazzi as Prime Minister of Italy.
- Not only did Menabrea hold the position of Prime Minister during this period (during which there were three cabinets), but he also held the position of Foreign Minister.
- Although Menabrea had secretly supported Garibaldi, and the government had put up money for the failed venture, he had to issue a proclamation on 27 October 1868 starting legal proceedings against Garibaldi.
- After Giovanni Lanza took over as Prime Minister he was aware that Menabrea might still keep substantial power through his close contacts with King Victor Emmanuel II.
- Lanza, therefore, thought it better to remove Menabrea from the centre of events and he did this by appointing him ambassador to London.
Born 4 September 1809, Chambéry, Savoy, France. Died 24 May 1896, St Cassin (near Chambéry), France.
View full biography at MacTutor
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive