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Ennio de Giorgi (Lecce, February 8, 1928 – Pisa, October 25, 1996) was an influential Italian mathematician of the 20th century.

He made important contributions to mathematical analysis, in particular to the study of minimal surfaces and to the regularity of the solutions of elliptic partial differential equations.

In terms of the regularity of solutions of elliptic partial differential equations, one of his major contributions was to solve the 19th Hilbert problem. At roughly the same time he solved it, John Forbes Nash solved it in a completely independent fashion. His work has influenced Luis Caffarelli and many other mathematicians.

A book titled, A Beautiful Mind includes interesting information regarding Ennio De Giorgi. See Chapter 30 Olden Lane and Washington Square.

The author, Sylvia Nasar, writing of John Forbes Nash’s life, explained that John Nash was working on proving a theorem involving elliptic partial differential equations. In 1956 John suffered a severe, perhaps crushing, disappointment when he learned of an Italian mathematician, Ennio de Giorgi, who had published a proof already, a couple of months before John achieved his proof. Each took different routes to get to their solutions. Evidently Ennio holds the honor of being first and John, the honor of the more mathematically elegant solution.

The two mathematicians met each other at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University, during the summer of 1956.

Sylvia Nasar wrote that Ennio was born into a very poor family and that mathematics was his whole focus in life and literally lived in his office, devoted to his research. He held his nation’s most prestigious mathematical chair. Remarkably, Ennio made the attempt to prove the existence of God through mathematics.

See also

* Caccioppoli set
* Calculus of variations
* Elliptic partial differential equation
* Minimal surface


References

* De Giorgi, Ennio (2006). Selected Papers. Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer-Verlag ISBN 978-3-540-26169-8. A selection from De Giorgi's scientific works with biography, bibliography and commentaries from Luis Caffarelli and other noted mathematicians.
* Biography of Ennio de Giorgi, home page at the Research Group in Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. There is also an extended and almost comprehensive version in Adobe pdf format for the Italian reader.
* Emmer, Michele (October 1997), "Interview with Ennio De Giorgi", Notices of the AMS 44 (9): 1096–1101, http://www.ams.org/notices/199709/emmer.pdf
* Emmer, Michele (2007). Mathematics and Culture IV. Berlin-Heidelberg-New York: Springer-Verlag ISBN 978-3-540-34254-0. Contains two chapters on De Giorgi.
* Lions, Jacques-Louis; Murat, François (October 1997), "Ennio De Giorgi (1928--1996)", Notices of the AMS 44 (9): 1095–1096, http://www.ams.org/notices/199709/murat.pdf


External links

* Centro di ricerca matematica "Ennio de Giorgi",
* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Ennio de Giorgi", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/De_Giorgi.html .
* De Giorgi video Interview - in italiano, at Matematicamente
* Giornata in ricordo di Ennio De Giorgi (Meeting Day in memory of Ennio De Giorgi), Dipartimento di Matematica L. Tonelli, Faedo Hall, Università di Pisa., November 30, 2006, http://www.dm.unipi.it/~spagnolo/degiorgi.html (in italian).

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