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Beniamino Segre (16 February 1903-2 October 1977) was an Italian mathematician who is remembered today as a major contributor to algebraic geometry and one of the founders of combinatorial geometry. He was born and studied in Turin. His main contributions to algebraic geometry concerned birational invariants of algebraic varieties, and the investigation of singularities. This work was in the style of the old Italian School, although he also appreciated the need for greater rigour characteristic of modern algebraic geometry. But his more original contribution was the introduction of finite and non-continuous structures into geometry. In his best known paper (On ovals in finite projective planes, 1954) he proved the following theorem: In a Desarguesian plane of odd order, the ovals are exactly the irreducible conics. Some critics felt that his work was no longer geometry, but today it is recognized as a separate subdiscipline: combinatorial geometry.

In 1938 he lost his professorship as a result of the anti-Jewish laws enacted under Mussolini's government; he spent the next 8 years in Great Britain, then returned to Italy to resume his academic career.

See also

* Italian school of algebraic geometry

References

* Tallini, Giuseppe. Beniamino Segre. Acta Arithmetica. Retrieved on December 25, 2005.

* Vesentini, Edoardo. Beniamino Segre and Italian Geometry. Rendiconti di Matematica. Retrieved on January 2, 2006.

* O'Connor, John J. & Robertson, Edmund F., "Beniamino Segre", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive


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