An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.
Seventeenth-century Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri is largely remembered as someone who set the tone for integral calculus with his work on geometry. While teaching math at the University of Bologna, he developed his iconic method of indivisibles. He also introduced Italy to logarithms through his book Directorium Generale Uranometricum.
Luca Pacioli was an Italian Franciscan friar and mathematician. He worked closely with Leonardo da Vinci and produced works, such as Divina proportione, a book on mathematics. Luca Pacioli was an early contributor to the field which came to be known as accounting. Pacioli is widely regarded as The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping.
Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano is best known for his iconic work Ars magna, or The Great Art, which contributed immensely to the field of algebra. Throughout his illustrious life, he had been a physician, a math lecturer, and an astrologer. He was also the first to describe typhus fever clinically.
Early Renaissance Italian painter Piero della Francesca was probably the son of a tanner or a shoemaker and was well-versed in Latin. His frescoes, such as The Legend of the True Cross, exhibited perspective with simplicity. He also applied his knowledge of geometry to his art.
Evangelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo, later made a name for himself as a physicist and a mathematician with his invention of the barometer. He also laid down the Torricelli’s theorem and discovered the Torricellian vacuum. The torr, a unit of pressure, bears his name.
Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.
Former Italian president and prime minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had a major role in introducing Italy to the euro. He had been the governor of the Bank of Italy for 14 years and had held several portfolios, including the ministry of treasury. He was also a World War II veteran.
Remembered as the founder of symbolic logic, Giuseppe Peano laid down the symbols of union and intersection of sets. He also worked on geometric calculus and taught at institutes such as the University of Turin. His works are written in a simplified version of Latin. He was knighted by Italy.
10 Carlo Masi
Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia was the first to apply math to the science of ballistics. During the French invasion of Brescia, his jaw was sliced by a sword, causing him a speech difficulty, and thus gaining him the nickname Tartaglia, or "Stammerer." His Nova Scientia remains a significant work on mechanics.
Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro pioneered the study of absolute differential calculus, or Ricci calculus, which later came to be known as tensor analysis. His studies were later used by Albert Einstein in his discovery of the theory of relativity, which is why the Ricci tensor is also known as the Einstein tensor.
While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.
Gian-Carlo Rota went down in history as the first and the only professor of applied mathematics and philosophy at MIT. His illustrious scientific career revolved around research on subjects such as combinatorics, probability, and functional analysis. He had also led the American Mathematical Society as its vice president.
Fields Medal-winning Italian mathematician Enrico Bombieri is known for his work on number theory and the distribution of primes. Currently a professor at Princeton, Bombieri was 16 when he wrote his first math paper and 22 when he earned a math degree. He is also an avid painter.
Vito Volterra is remembered for his work on calculus and functional analysis. Born into a poor family in Ancona, he used his math skills to join the University of Pisa. He later taught as mechanics professor. He was also the first to suggest the use of helium in airships.
Paolo Ruffini was at the same time a mathematician and a physician. He was the first to claim that the general quintic equation had no algebraic solution. Ruffini was briefly banned from teaching when he refused to submit to the new republic following the rise of Napoleon.
Benedetto Castelli, a Benedictine priest and a student of Galileo, later became a math professor at the University of Pisa. His On the Measurement of Water Currents is considered a fundamental work in hydraulics. He was the first to work on the principle of the barometer and sustained vacuum.
Eugenio Beltrami was an Italian mathematician, whose work on the differential geometry of curves and surfaces helped to establish the soundness of non-Euclidean geometry. A faculty of University of Bologna, he dealt in wide range of subjects, establishing Beltrami equation, Beltrami identity, Beltrami's theorem, Laplace–Beltrami operator, Beltrami vector field and Beltrami–Klein model, publishing several works including Opere Matematiche.
Scipione del Ferro was the first to find a technique to solve the depressed cubic equation x3 + px = q. He taught arithmetic and geometry throughout his life and also contributed to the study of fractions that had irrational denominators. Unfortunately, none of his written works exist anymore.
Aloysius Lilius, also known as Luigi Lilio, is best remembered as the main author of the Gregorian Calendar. Well-versed in medicine and astronomy, Lilius hailed from Calabria, Italy, though not much is known about his life. His calendar was presented to Pope Gregory XIII by his brother Antonio.
Camillo Agrippa was a renowned 16th-century swordfighter who redefined the art of combat by applying geometric principles to it. He apparently also inspired the Spanish swordfight Destreza. Agrippa was also a skilled architect and mathematician. His written works include Treatise on the Science of Arms with Philosophical Dialogue.
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Giovanni Ceva had proposed the geometric theory, the Ceva's theorem, named after him. The Italian mathematician taught at the universities of Pisa and Mantua. Apart from geometry, he had also worked on hydraulics and mathematical economics. He was the brother of poet and mathematician Tommaso Ceva.
Italian mathematician Luigi Cremona is best remembered for his work on graphical statics. A member of the Steinerian school of geometry, he was a professor, a Royal Society member, and later, a senator of the Kingdom of Italy. He also received the Steiner Prize and the German Pour le Mérite.
A highly intellectual scholar and a reputed epistemologist, Giulio Giorello graduated from the University of Milan with philosophy and mathematics. He later taught physics and natural science in a number of reputed universities across Italy before being appointed as professor of philosophy of science at his alma mater. A prolific writer, he published around twenty major works in his lifetime.
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31 Paolo Frisi
Italian physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Paolo Frisi is best remembered for his work on hydraulics, expressed through his books such as A Treatise on Rivers and Torrents. His interpretation of the works of eminent scientists such as Galileo and Newton, too, are considered immensely valuable to the scientific community.
Domenico Guglielmini is regarded as the pioneer of the Italian school of hydraulics, though he initially worked on astronomy. Apart from being a professor of hydrometry and mathematics, he was also a part-time physician, but eventually quit his research on hydraulics to focus on medicine full-time.