Person: Cafiero, Federico
Federico Cafiero was an Italian mathematician who worked in real analysis, measure theory and ordinary differential equations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Federico was born in Riposto, a town on the east coast of Sicily, about 30 km north of the town of Catania.
- Caccioppoli was certainly impressed by his young student and referred to Cafiero as his favourite pupil.
- Cafiero obtained his laurea, with distinction, in 1939 and following this he won the Istituto Nazionale di Alta Matematica scholarship, to the value of 5000 Italian liras, which allowed him to study for a year in Rome at La Sapienza Università di Roma.
- After this year of deep study, Cafiero was appointed to teach the 'Elements of Mathematics' course in the Statistical Science Faculty in Rome.
- Cafiero had only been teaching the 'Elements of Mathematics' course for a few months when he was called up to serve in the Italian army in January 1941.
- Cafiero's unit was caught by surprise by the turn of events with many of the Italian soldiers being captured by the Allies.
- However Cafiero had his men sail from North Africa to the Italian coast in a rubber dingy reaching Trapani in Sicily.
- Cafiero reached Naples but was unable to move further north.
- Cafiero, in the role of an assistant, was able to help with the reconstruction of the University of Naples.
- Miranda and Caccioppoli, with Cafiero's help, began to rebuild mathematics at the University of Naples.
- The Institute began to operate from 1944, with Miranda as its director and Cafiero, as an assistant, was one of the few members of staff.
- The academics were only supported by two old janitors, so it fell to a young assistant like Cafiero to undertake hard physical work.
- Although Cafiero was only an assistant at first, in 1951 he was appointed as professor in analysis.
- In each of the years 1948, 1949 and 1950, Cafiero published three papers most of which studied ordinary differential equations.
- In 1953 Cafiero entered the competition for the chair of analysis at the University of Catania and the panel of assessors ranked him in first place.
- Cafiero only spent three years in Catania before moving to Pisa in 1956.
- The appointment of Cafiero, who succeeded Francesco Cecioni, to the University of Pisa also meant that he taught at the Scuola Normale.
- In 1953, the year Cafiero joined the Institute at Pisa, Faedo became Dean of the Faculty of Science so Cafiero became director of the Mathematical Institute from the time he was appointed.
- Cafiero was a member of this team which was given the task of designing and building an electronic computer.
- The Calcolatrice Elettronica Pisana was completed in 1961 but Cafiero had left Pisa two years before this.
- Given the exciting mathematical developments that were happening in Pisa, at first it might seem a little strange that Cafiero chose to move after only three years.
- Naples held a special affection for Cafiero who, although a Sicilian by birth, considered Naples as his adopted home (it was, of course, also the nearest city to his parents' home town).
- This was the last move that Cafiero made, spending the last twenty years of his life in Naples.
- Cafiero played an important role in building a vigorous mathematical school at Naples which included (in alphabetical order) Luigi Albano, Ugo Barbuti, Antonio Chffi, Paolo De Lucia, Nicola Fedele, Renato Fiorenza, Francesco Guglielmino, Giuseppe Pulvirenti, Giuseppe Santagati and Antonio Zitarosa.
- We have already seen that Cafiero made contributions to the theory of ordinary differential equations and to the theory of measure and integration.
- Cafiero was an enthusiastic believer in educational reform particularly in the universities.
- This obituary describes in detail Cafiero's contributions to the theory of measurable functions, which is considered to be his most important work.
- Two notable awards the Cafiero received for his mathematical contributions were the Tenore prize of the Accademia Pontaniana (awarded in 1953 for his monograph Funzioni additive d'insieme e integrazione negli spazi astratti Ⓣ(General additive functions and integration in abstract spaces)) and the Golden medal 'Benemeriti della Scuola, della Cultura, dell'Arte' which he received from the President of the Italian Republic in 1976.
Born 24 May 1914, Riposto, Catania, Sicily. Died 7 May 1980, Naples, Italy.
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