The Most Famous

MATHEMATICIANS from Italy

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This page contains a list of the greatest Italian Mathematicians. The pantheon dataset contains 828 Mathematicians, 60 of which were born in Italy. This makes Italy the birth place of the 5th most number of Mathematicians behind Germany and United States.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Italian Mathematicians of all time. This list of famous Italian Mathematicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Italian Mathematicians.

Photo of Archimedes

1. Archimedes (-287 - -212)

With an HPI of 93.93, Archimedes is the most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 166 different languages on wikipedia.

Archimedes of Syracuse (; Ancient Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; Doric Greek: [ar.kʰi.mɛː.dɛ̂ːs]; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor from the ancient city of Syracuse in Sicily. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Considered to be the greatest mathematician of ancient history, and one of the greatest of all time, Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying the concept of the infinitely small and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including: the area of a circle; the surface area and volume of a sphere; area of an ellipse; the area under a parabola; the volume of a segment of a paraboloid of revolution; the volume of a segment of a hyperboloid of revolution; and the area of a spiral.Archimedes' other mathematical achievements include deriving an approximation of pi; defining and investigating the spiral that now bears his name; and devising a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics. Archimedes' achievements in this area include a proof of the principle of the lever, the widespread use of the concept of center of gravity, and the enunciation of the law of buoyancy. He is also credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion. Archimedes died during the siege of Syracuse, when he was killed by a Roman soldier despite orders that he should not be harmed. Cicero describes visiting Archimedes' tomb, which was surmounted by a sphere and a cylinder, which Archimedes had requested be placed on his tomb to represent his mathematical discoveries. Unlike his inventions, Archimedes' mathematical writings were little known in antiquity. Mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, but the first comprehensive compilation was not made until c. 530 AD by Isidore of Miletus in Byzantine Constantinople, while commentaries on the works of Archimedes by Eutocius in the 6th century opened them to wider readership for the first time. The relatively few copies of Archimedes' written work that survived through the Middle Ages were an influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance and again in the 17th century, while the discovery in 1906 of previously lost works by Archimedes in the Archimedes Palimpsest has provided new insights into how he obtained mathematical results.

Photo of Fibonacci

2. Fibonacci (1170 - 1240)

With an HPI of 84.01, Fibonacci is the 2nd most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 110 different languages.

Fibonacci (; also US: , Italian: [fiboˈnattʃi]; c. 1170 – c. 1240–50), also known as Leonardo Bonacci, Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Bigollo Pisano ('Leonardo the Traveller from Pisa'), was an Italian mathematician from the Republic of Pisa, considered to be "the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages".The name he is commonly called, Fibonacci, was made up in 1838 by the Franco-Italian historian Guillaume Libri and is short for filius Bonacci ('son of Bonacci'). However, even earlier in 1506 a notary of the Holy Roman Empire, Perizolo mentions Leonardo as "Lionardo Fibonacci".Fibonacci popularized the Indo–Arabic numeral system in the Western world primarily through his composition in 1202 of Liber Abaci (Book of Calculation). He also introduced Europe to the sequence of Fibonacci numbers, which he used as an example in Liber Abaci.

Photo of Joseph-Louis Lagrange

3. Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736 - 1813)

With an HPI of 81.16, Joseph-Louis Lagrange is the 3rd most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 85 different languages.

Joseph-Louis Lagrange (born Giuseppe Luigi Lagrangia or Giuseppe Ludovico De la Grange Tournier; 25 January 1736 – 10 April 1813), also reported as Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange or Lagrangia, was an Italian mathematician and astronomer, later naturalized French. He made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics. In 1766, on the recommendation of Swiss Leonhard Euler and French d'Alembert, Lagrange succeeded Euler as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, Prussia, where he stayed for over twenty years, producing volumes of work and winning several prizes of the French Academy of Sciences. Lagrange's treatise on analytical mechanics (Mécanique analytique, 4. ed., 2 vols. Paris: Gauthier-Villars et fils, 1788–89), written in Berlin and first published in 1788, offered the most comprehensive treatment of classical mechanics since Newton and formed a basis for the development of mathematical physics in the nineteenth century. In 1787, at age 51, he moved from Berlin to Paris and became a member of the French Academy of Sciences. He remained in France until the end of his life. He was instrumental in the decimalisation in Revolutionary France, became the first professor of analysis at the École Polytechnique upon its opening in 1794, was a founding member of the Bureau des Longitudes, and became Senator in 1799.

Photo of Gerolamo Cardano

4. Gerolamo Cardano (1501 - 1576)

With an HPI of 79.77, Gerolamo Cardano is the 4th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Gerolamo Cardano (Italian: [dʒeˈrɔːlamo karˈdaːno]; also Girolamo or Geronimo; French: Jérôme Cardan; Latin: Hieronymus Cardanus; 24 September 1501– 21 September 1576 (O. S.)) was an Italian polymath, whose interests and proficiencies ranged through those of mathematician, physician, biologist, physicist, chemist, astrologer, astronomer, philosopher, writer, and gambler. He was one of the most influential mathematicians of the Renaissance, and was one of the key figures in the foundation of probability and the earliest introducer of the binomial coefficients and the binomial theorem in the Western world. He wrote more than 200 works on science.Cardano partially invented and described several mechanical devices including the combination lock, the gimbal consisting of three concentric rings allowing a supported compass or gyroscope to rotate freely, and the Cardan shaft with universal joints, which allows the transmission of rotary motion at various angles and is used in vehicles to this day. He made significant contributions to hypocycloids, published in De proportionibus, in 1570. The generating circles of these hypocycloids were later named Cardano circles or cardanic circles and were used for the construction of the first high-speed printing presses.Today, he is well known for his achievements in algebra. In his 1545 book Ars Magna, he made the first systematic use of negative numbers in Europe, published with attribution the solutions of other mathematicians for the cubic and quartic equations, and acknowledged the existence of imaginary numbers.

Photo of Luca Pacioli

5. Luca Pacioli (1445 - 1517)

With an HPI of 79.17, Luca Pacioli is the 5th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.

Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli (sometimes Paccioli or Paciolo; c. 1447 – 19 June 1517) was an Italian mathematician, Franciscan friar, collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci, and an early contributor to the field now known as accounting. He is referred to as "The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping" in Europe and he was the first person to publish a work on the double-entry system of book-keeping on the continent. He was also called Luca di Borgo after his birthplace, Borgo Sansepolcro, Tuscany.

Photo of Archytas

6. Archytas (-428 - -347)

With an HPI of 77.79, Archytas is the 6th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Archytas (; Greek: Ἀρχύτας; 435/410–360/350 BC) was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, music theorist, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato.

Photo of Maria Gaetana Agnesi

7. Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718 - 1799)

With an HPI of 76.89, Maria Gaetana Agnesi is the 7th most famous Italian Mathematician.  Her biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (UK: an-YAY-zee, US: ahn-, Italian: [maˈriːa ɡaeˈtaːna aɲˈɲɛːzi, -ɲeːz-]; 16 May 1718 – 9 January 1799) was an Italian mathematician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. She was the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a mathematics professor at a university.She is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus and was a member of the faculty at the University of Bologna, although she never served. She devoted the last four decades of her life to studying theology (especially patristics) and to charitable work and serving the poor. She was a devout Catholic and wrote extensively on the marriage between intellectual pursuit and mystical contemplation, most notably in her essay Il cielo mistico (The Mystic Heaven). She saw the rational contemplation of God as a complement to prayer and contemplation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini, clavicembalist and composer, was her sister.

Photo of Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia

8. Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (1499 - 1557)

With an HPI of 76.72, Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia is the 8th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (Italian: [nikkoˈlɔ ffonˈtaːna tarˈtaʎʎa]; 1499/1500 – 13 December 1557) was an Italian mathematician, engineer (designing fortifications), a surveyor (of topography, seeking the best means of defense or offense) and a bookkeeper from the then Republic of Venice (now part of Italy). He published many books, including the first Italian translations of Archimedes and Euclid, and an acclaimed compilation of mathematics. Tartaglia was the first to apply mathematics to the investigation of the paths of cannonballs, known as ballistics, in his Nova Scientia (A New Science, 1537); his work was later partially validated and partially superseded by Galileo's studies on falling bodies. He also published a treatise on retrieving sunken ships.

Photo of Philolaus

9. Philolaus (-470 - -390)

With an HPI of 76.63, Philolaus is the 9th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Philolaus (; Ancient Greek: Φιλόλαος, Philólaos; c. 470 – c. 385 BCE) was a Greek Pythagorean and pre-Socratic philosopher. He was born in a Greek colony in Italy and migrated to Greece. Philolaus has been called one of three most prominent figures in the Pythagorean tradition and the most outstanding figure in the Pythagorean school. Pythagoras developed a school of philosophy that was dominated by both mathematics and mysticism. Most of what is known today about the Pythagorean astronomical system is derived from Philolaus's views. He may have been the first to write about Pythagorean doctrine. According to August Böckh (1819), who cites Nicomachus, Philolaus was the successor of Pythagoras.He argued that at the foundation of everything is the part played by the limiting and limitless, which combine in a harmony. With his assertions that the Earth was not the center of the universe (geocentrism), he is credited with the earliest known discussion of concepts in the development of heliocentrism, the theory that the Earth is not the center of the Universe, but rather that the Sun is. Philolaus discussed a Central Fire as the center of the universe and that spheres (including the Sun) revolved around it.

Photo of Giuseppe Peano

10. Giuseppe Peano (1858 - 1932)

With an HPI of 74.98, Giuseppe Peano is the 10th most famous Italian Mathematician.  His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.

Giuseppe Peano (; Italian: [dʒuˈzɛppe peˈaːno]; 27 August 1858 – 20 April 1932) was an Italian mathematician and glottologist. The author of over 200 books and papers, he was a founder of mathematical logic and set theory, to which he contributed much notation. The standard axiomatization of the natural numbers is named the Peano axioms in his honor. As part of this effort, he made key contributions to the modern rigorous and systematic treatment of the method of mathematical induction. He spent most of his career teaching mathematics at the University of Turin. He also wrote an international auxiliary language, Latino sine flexione ("Latin without inflections"), which is a simplified version of Classical Latin. Most of his books and papers are in Latino sine flexione, others are in Italian.

Pantheon has 60 people classified as mathematicians born between 470 BC and 1988. Of these 60, 4 (6.67%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living mathematicians include Enrico Bombieri, Eugenio Calabi, and Alessio Figalli. The most famous deceased mathematicians include Archimedes, Fibonacci, and Joseph-Louis Lagrange. As of October 2020, 6 new mathematicians have been added to Pantheon including Ostilio Ricci, Francesco Faà di Bruno, and Giuseppe Vitali.

Living Mathematicians

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Deceased Mathematicians

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Newly Added Mathematicians (2020)

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Which Mathematicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Mathematicians since 1700.