Mathematics in a Unified Italy

  • Umberto Bottazzini


“The Risorgimento, the national rebirth of Italy, also meant the rebirth of Italian mathematics” (Struik, 1967,179) or, in Volterra’s words, “the scientific existence of a nation” (Volterra, 1900,43). An idea of the difficulties — political and otherwise — met by Italian mathematicians before the unification of Italy may be derived from the fact that Mossotti, physicist and mathematician, and Betti’s mentor in Pisa, upon his return to Italy after a long exile in England and the Argentie , was refused a chair in the Lombardo-Veneto and in the Papal State because of his patriotic ideas. Another instance: travelling from Austrian-ruled Pavia, where Brioschi was teaching, to Rome in the Papal State, where Tortolini’s Annali di Scienze Matematiche e Fisiche were published, required crossing no less than four state borders. This situation made the direct exchange of ideas among mathematicians from the various states very difficult, or altogether impossible.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

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  • Umberto Bottazzini

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