Giuseppe Peano

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Giuseppe Peano (Italian pronunciation: [dʒuˈzɛppe peˈaːno]; 27 August 1858 – 20 April 1932) was an Italian mathematician, whose work was of exceptional philosophical value. 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.



Peano was born and raised on a farm at Spinetta, a hamlet now belonging to Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy. He enrolled at the University of Turin in 1876, graduating in 1880 with high honours, after which the University employed him to assist first Enrico D'Ovidio, and then Angelo Genocchi, the Chair of Infinitesimal calculus. Due to Genocchi's poor health, Peano took over the teaching of the infinitesimal calculus course within 2 years. His first major work, a textbook on calculus, was published in 1884 and was credited to Genocchi. Three years later, Peano published his first book dealing with mathematical logic. Here the modern symbols for the union and intersection of sets appeared for the first time.[citation needed]

In 1887, Peano married Carola Crosio, the daughter of the Turin-based painter Luigi Crosio, known for painting the Refugium Peccatorum Madonna. In 1886, he began teaching concurrently at the Royal Military Academy, and was promoted to Professor First Class in 1889. The next year, the University of Turin also granted him his full professorship. Peano's famous space-filling curve appeared in 1890 as a counterexample. He used it to show that a continuous curve cannot always be enclosed in an arbitrarily small region. This was an early example of what came to be known as a fractal.

The following year Peano started the Formulario Project. It was to be an "Encyclopedia of Mathematics", containing all known formulae and theorems of mathematical science using a standard notation invented by Peano. In 1897, the first International Congress of Mathematicians was held in Zürich. Peano was a key participant, presenting a paper on mathematical logic. He also started to become increasingly occupied with Formulario to the detriment of his other work.

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