11 de January de 2018, 16:23h

Salvatore Pincherle (1853-1936): overcame the barriers of war

Salvatore Pincherle was born in a jewish family in Trieste (Italy) in 1853 and spent his childhood in Marseille (France). He left France in 1869 to study mathematics at the University of Pisa, where he was a student under both Enrico Betti and Ulisse Dini.

In 1877, after winning a scholarship at the University of Berlin (Germany), Pincherle met  Karl Weierstrass and contributed to his theory of analytic functions. In 1880, influenced by Weierstrass, Pincherle wrote a remarkable expository paper in the field of analysis. His contribution was of such importance that many authors consider him to be the founder of functional analysis.

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From 1880 to 1928, Pincherle was a Mathematics Professor at the University of Bologna. In 1922, he founded the Italian Mathematical Union and became its first president, a position he held for 14 years.

In 1928, he became president of the 8rd ICM. Pincherle opened the Congress to all mathematicians irrespective of nationality, terminating the discrimination against the Central Powers, re-admitting German mathematicians after a ban imposed after World War I.  Pincherle’s policy of openness was widely applauded.

Following the Congress, Pincherle retired from the University. In 1953, in honor to the centenary of his birth, the Italian Mathematical Union edited a selection of 62 of his notes and treatises.

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