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Michelangelo Ricci

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30 Jan 1619

Rome, Italy

12 May 1682

Rome, Italy

Prezentare
Michelangelo Ricci was a friend of Torricelli ; in fact both were taught by Benedetti Castelli. He studied theology and law in Rome and at this time he became friends with René de Sluze . It is clear that Sluze , Torricelli and Ricci had a considerable influence on each other in the mathematics which they studied.

Ricci made his career in the Church. His income came from the Church, certainly from 1650 he received such funds, but perhaps surprisingly he was never ordained. Ricci served the Pope in several different roles before being made a cardinal by Pope Innocent XI in 1681.

Ricci's main work was Exercitatio geometrica, De maximis et minimis (1666) which was later reprinted as an appendix to Nicolaus Mercator 's Logarithmo-technia (1668). It only consisted of 19 pages and it is remarkable that his high reputation rests solely on such a short publication.

In this work Ricci finds the maximum of xm(a - x)n and the tangents to ym = kxn. The methods are early examples of induction. He also studied spirals (1644), generalised cycloids (1674) and states explicitly that finding tangents and finding areas are inverse operations (1668).

In his own time Ricci's fame as a mathematician rested more on the many letters he wrote on mathematical topics, rather than on his published work. He corresponded with many mathematicians across Europe including Clavius , Viviani and de Sluze .

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland