Person: De Finetti, Bruno
Bruno de Finetti was an Italian probabilist, statistician and actuary, noted for his approach to probability theory.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Thus, it was no surprise when in 1923 Bruno de Finetti enrolled at Milan Polytechnic.
- Thus, during his third year at Milan Polytechnic, inspired by a paper of the biologist Carlo Foà, he started research work in the field of population genetics which soon (1926) led him to the first of his almost three hundred writings: it was the first example of a model with overlapping generations in population genetics and it was at least forty years ahead of its time.
- Among his teachers at the University of Milan, it is also worth remembering Oscar Chisini, who is known for his general definition of mean.
- At the time Bruno de Finetti received his degree, a position was already waiting for him in Rome at the Italian Central Statistical Institute, founded and directed by Corrado Gini.
- In the following years, he supplemented his work with several academic appointments, both in Trieste and Padua.
- Then, starting from 1946, he concentrated on his academic activity and in 1947 he became a full professor at the University of Trieste.
- Although in the vast majority of his writings the name of Bruno de Finetti stands alone, it is true that he had many contacts with both Italian and foreign scholars.
- The reference is to his famous subjective theory of probability, which he developed during his most prolific period, that is the one from 1926 to 1931.
- A "summa" of Bruno de Finetti's revolutionary ideas on probability can be found in the two volumes of his best known book Teoria della Probabilità Ⓣ(Theory of probability) (1970) which was translated into English in 1975.
- Moreover, Bruno de Finetti had interests and made contributions well outside the field of probability and statistics.
- Here, leaving aside his contributions to mathematical analysis, as well as those to financial and actuarial mathematics, it is worth considering his vital interest in economics and social justice, together with his enthusiastic involvement in the teaching of mathematics.
- Bruno de Finetti's interest in economics was innate and led him, during his first year at Milan Polytechnic, to attend the lectures given there by Ulisse Gobbi.
- At the time of his death, Bruno de Finetti was a honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, as well as a member of the International Statistical Institute and a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
- Furthermore, in 1974, he had been elected a corresponding member, and then a full member, of the Accademia dei Lincei.
Born 13 June 1906, Innsbruck, Austria. Died 20 July 1985, Rome, Italy.
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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