Vito Volterra

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Vito Volterra

Vito Volterra (3 May 1860 – 11 October 1940) was an Italian mathematician and mathematical physicist, known for his contributions to integral equations and mathematical biology. At the International Congress of Mathematicians, he was a plenary speaker in 1900 in Paris, in 1908 in Rome, in 1920 in Strasbourg, and in 1928 in Bologna, as well as an invited speaker in 1904 in Heidelberg and in 1912 in Cambridge, UK (although family reasons prevented him from attending the Cambridge conference).


  • Si vous demandez à tout mathématicien si dans son esprit il fait une distinction les théories de l'élasticité et celles de l'électrodynamique, il vous dira qu'il n'en fait pas, car les types de équations différentielles qu'il rencontre, et les méthodes qu'il doit employer pour résoudre les problèmes qui se présentent, sont tout à les mêmes dans le deux cas. (If you ask any mathematician if in his mind he makes a distinction between the theories of elasticity and those of electrodynamics, he will tell you that he does not, because the types of differential equations he encounters, and the methods which he must employ to solve the problems which arise, are all the same in the two cases.)
  • I did not hesitate at the Congress of Mathematicians at Paris to call the nineteenth century the century of the theory of functions, as the eighteenth century might have been called that of infinitesimal calculus.

Quotes about Volterra[edit]

  • He and Benedetto Croce actively attacked the regime from their seats in the Senate. After 1930 Volterra was dismissed from the University and stripped of his membership in all Italian scientific societies. The same thing later happened to Levi-Civita. To the honor of the Santa Sede, he and Volterra (both of whom were Jews) were soon thereafter appointed by Pope Pius XI to his Pontifical Academy.

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