The Foundations of Projective Geometry in Italy
When the distinguished mathematician and historian of mathematics Hans Freudenthal analysed Hilbert’s Grundlagen he argued that the link between reality and geometry appears to be severed for the first time in Hilbert’s work. However, he discovered that Hilbert had been preceded by the Italian mathematician Gino Fano in 1892. Recent historians of mathematics have shown that, in Italy at least, Fano’s point of view on the nature of geometrical entities had been a generally accepted theory for at least a decade, but it was not in fact axiomatic in Hilbert’s manner, and that other Italian mathematicians were, however, ahead of Hilbert in this manner. How did this come about, what did they do, and why did they lose out?
KeywordsProjective Geometry Intuitive Concept Singular Curve Italian Mathematician Gifted Mathematician
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