You are here

Mathematical Treasure: Volterra’s Theory of Functionals

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Vito Volterra (1860–1940) was an Italian mathematician remembered for his contributions to the fields of mathematical biology and integral equations. In predator–prey analysis his name is recognized in the Lotka-Volterra equations. He opposed Benito Mussolini’s government, commenting that “Empires die, but Euclid’s theorems keep their youth forever.” Volterra summarized his work on functionals in his 1930 book, for which the title page of the 1931 English translation is shown above.

On pages 50–51 of his Theory of Functionals, Volterra discussed symmetric[al] kernels.

The Special Collections staff at the Linderman Library of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is pleased to cooperate with the Mathematical Association of America to exhibit this and other items from the Library’s holdings in Mathematical Treasures. In particular, Convergence would like to thank Lois Fischer Black, Curator, Special Collections, and Ilhan Citak, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, for their kind assistance in helping to make this display possible. You may use these images in your classroom; all other uses require permission from the Special Collections staff, Linderman Library, Lehigh University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Volterra’s Theory of Functionals," Convergence (June 2014)