Beltrami, Eugenio

Beltrami, Eugenio

▪ Italian mathematician
born November 16, 1835, Cremona, Lombardy, Austrian Empire [now in Italy]
died February 18, 1900, Rome, Italy

      Italian mathematician known for his description of non-Euclidean geometry and for his theories of surfaces of constant curvature.

      Following his studies at the University of Pavia (1853–56) and later in Milan, Beltrami was invited to join the faculty at the University of Bologna (Bologna, University of) in 1862 as a visiting professor of algebra and analytic geometry; four years later he was appointed professor of rational mechanics (the application of calculus to the study of the motion of solids and liquids). He also held professorships at universities in Pisa, Rome, and Pavia.

      Influenced by the Russian Nikolay Ivanovich Lobachevsky (Lobachevsky, Nikolay Ivanovich) and the Germans Carl Friedrich Gauss (Gauss, Carl Friedrich) and Bernhard Riemann (Riemann, Bernhard), Beltrami's work on the differential geometry of curves and surfaces removed any doubts about the validity of non-Euclidean geometry, and it was soon taken up by the German Felix Klein (Klein, Felix), who showed that non-Euclidean geometry was a special case of projective geometry. Beltrami's four-volume work, Opere Matematiche (1902–20), published posthumously, contains his comments on a broad range of physical and mathematical subjects, including thermodynamics, elasticity, magnetism, optics, and electricity. Beltrami was a member of the scientific Accademia dei Lincei, serving as president in 1898; he was elected to the Italian Senate a year before his death.

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Universalium. 2010.

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