Person: Prodi, Giovanni
Giovanni Prodi was an Italian mathematician who was important in the development of Italian mathematical education.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Giovanni studied at the Liceo Ariosto in Reggio nell'Emilia, the main city of the region which lies about 12 km north of Scandiano.
- Prodi's school education continued, being relatively unaffected by the war.
- Prodi continued his education, entering the University of Parma to study mathematics.
- Prodi, however, was part of the German force.
- In the spring of 1944, along with many of his comrades, Prodi deserted from the Repubblica Sociale Italiana army and fled back to Parma.
- Prodi was held in PWE 337 along with some famous Italian generals and others of high status.
- Prodi spent five months in the camp at Coltano before being released.
- This included Prodi who spent a few months at Casale Monferrato where he was appointed as a corporal and given the task of instructing recruits.
- After his military service ended, Prodi returned to the University of Parma to take up again his university studies that had been forcibly interrupted by the war.
- He was able to attend courses at the University of Milan given by Giovanni Ricci on higher analysis and on the theory of functions.
- Also he was able to attend a meeting at which Renato Caccioppoli lectured on functional analysis and Prodi found this very exciting.
- After graduating from the University of Parma, Prodi was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Milan where he worked with Giovanni Ricci.
- In 1956 Prodi was called to the University of Trieste where he was appointed to the chair of mathematical analysis.
- It was while he was in Trieste that Prodi produced the most famous of his research results when he proved important uniqueness theorems for two-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations.
- Among them a prominent place belongs to Giovanni Prodi, who can be considered one of the leaders in nonlinear analysis.
- In October 1963, Prodi moved to the chair of analysis at the University of Pisa.
- Already while he was in Trieste, Prodi became heavily involved in mathematical education.
- Let us look at some comments made by those who were taught by Prodi after he had moved to Trieste.
- Prodi's wife, Silvia Dentella, was a teacher of mathematics who helped him in his educational reforms.
- He initiated the "Prodi Project" which went hand in hand with the formation of a group of teachers called the Gruppo di Formazione Matematica of Tuscany.
- Prodi was the coordinator and inspiration for this group of teachers which held a conference each year, usually in Viareggio.
- The "Prodi Project" proposed radical new ideas on mathematics teaching in schools which involved more emphasis on probability theory, an emphasis on constructive mathematics, and introducing pupils to algorithmic thinking and computing.
- Prodi noted that mathematics books which have stood the test of time have been largely books of problems, yet the bulk of mathematics teaching involves showing theory to students.
- Prodi argued strongly for more emphasis on problem solving and called for more thought to be given in producing relevant problems of the correct level of difficulty.
- Guida dell'Unione matematica al progetto Prodi Ⓣ(Elements of mathematical analysis.
- Finally we point out that Prodi was an enthusiastic Christian and a founder of the group "Science and Faith" in 1977.
- Perhaps the greatest recognition of Prodi's contributions has been the creation of the Giovanni Prodi Chair in Nonlinear Analysis at the University of Würzburg in Germany in 2006.
- For many years Prodi suffered from steadily declining health due to Parkinson's disease.
Born 28 July 1925, Scandiano, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Died 29 January 2010, Pisa, 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