Famous Mathematician of the Day

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23th November 2012 marks 408 years since the death of Francesco Barozzi, an Italian mathematician, astronomer and humanist.

Barozzi was born on the island of Crete, at Candia (now Heraklion), at the time a Venetian possession, the son of Iacopo Barozzi, a Venetian nobleman. He was educated at Padua, and studied mathematics at the University of Padua. The estate on Crete, inherited from his father, yielded him an income of 4,000 ducats, though he seems to have lived in Venice for most of his life. He was thus able to function as an independent scholar, and does not appear to have held any academic posts, although he did lecture on the De sphaera of Sacrobosco at the University of Padua in 1559.

Barozzi helped in the general reappraisal of the geometry of Euclid, and corresponded with numerous mathematicians, including the German Jesuit Christopher Clavius. His original works include Cosmographia in quatuor libros distributa summo ordine, miraque facilitate, ac brevitate ad magnam Ptolemaei mathematicam constructionem, ad universamque astrologiam institutens (1585), which he dedicated to the Duke of Urbino. This work concerns the cosmography and mathematic systems of Ptolemy. Barozzi also discussed 13 ways of drawing a parallel line in his Admirandum illud geometricum problema tredecim modis demonstratum quod docet duas lineas in eodem plano designare, quae nunquam invicem coincidant, etiam si in infinitum protrahantur: et quanto longius producuntur, tanto sibiinuicem propiores euadant (1586).

In his Opusculum: in quo una Oratio et due Questiones, altera de Certitude et altera de Medietate Mathematicarum continentur, Barozzi stressed that “the certitude of mathematics is contained in the syntactic rigor of demonstrations.”