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Luis Antonio Santaló: Selected Works

Luis Antonio Santaló
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Springer Collected Works in Mathematics
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It is fashionable to malign commercial publishers these days, but one has to admit that they do offer good service to the mathematics community in all sorts of ways. As a historian of mathematics, one that I am particularly grateful for is the publication (and ever better, the keeping in print) of volumes of collected or selected papers. This review discusses two recent volumes published by Springer: Selected Works of Ricardo Mañé and Luis Antonio Santaló.

Luis Antonio Santaló was born in Spain in 1911. He studied in Spain and then in Germany, where is dissertation advisor, Wilhelm Blaschke, introduced him to the subject that is now known as “integral geometry.” After the Spanish Civil War Santaló moved to Argentina, where he lived until his retirement. He died in 2001. This volume of “Selected Papers” includes a short biography, summaries of his work, a complete bibliography, book reviews written by Santaló, a few (badly reproduced, alas) photographs, and of course many papers. It was originally published in 2009, and has now been reprinted in the Springer Collected Works in Mathematics series.

Ricardo Mañé was born in Uruguay in 1948. In 1971, while still a student, he wrote a letter to Jacob Palis, who was one of the founding members of the Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Palis was so impressed with the young man’s mathematical ideas that he invited him to come to Rio, where Mañé received his PhD in 1973. His work was in dynamical systems and (differentiable) ergodic theory. Unfortunately Mañé died young, in 1995. This volume of selected papers includes his most important work. It is a joint publication of Springer, IMPA, and the Sociedade Brasileira de Matemática, part of a series of Selected Works of Outstanding Brazilian Mathematicians. It is not, alas, as impressively produced as Selected Works of Djairo G. de Figueiredo, which I reviewed here some time ago.

Will either of these mathematicians be of interest to historians of the 22nd century? It is hard to know, of course, and that is precisely why it is so valuable to have these volumes in print. When and if there is a need, the books will exist.

A final note to those whose access to Springer books is usually electronic via SpringerLink: because of the complexity of obtaining permission to reprint papers, volumes of collected or selected papers are usually not available at all in electronic form. So even if your library subscribes to one of the “all recent Springer books” packages these volumes will not be included. All the more reason, of course, to make sure paper copies are available.

Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College. His research interests are in history of mathematics and number theory. He likes to point out to people that we know printed books can survive for centuries (because they have), but we have no idea whether our ebooks will still be available next century.

The table of contents is not available.