Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Francesco Faa di Bruno

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 5
Francesco Faa di Bruno

by Paul Henry Linehan


An Italian mathematician and priest, born at Alessandria, 7 March, 1825; died at Turin, 26 March, 1888. He was of noble birth, and held, at one time, the rank of captain-of-staff in the Sardinian Army. Coming to Paris, he resigned his commission, studied under Cauchy, an admirable type of the true Catholic savant, and Leverrier, who shared in the discovery of the planet Neptune, and he became intimate with Abbé Moigno and Hermite. On his return to Turin, he was ordained, but the remainder of his life was spent as Professor of Mathematics at the University. In recognition of his achievements as a mathematician, the degree of Doctor of Science was conferred on him by the Universities of Paris and Turin. In addition to some ascetical writings, the composition of some sacred melodies, and the invention of some scientific apparatus, Faa di Bruno made numerous and important contributions to mathematics. These include about forty original articles published in the "Journal de Mathématiques" (Liouville), Crelle's "Journal", "American Journal of Mathematics" (John Hopkins University), "Annali di Tortolini", "Les Mondes", "Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences", etc; the first half of an exhaustive treatise on the theory and applications of elliptic functions which he planned to complete in three volumes; "Théorie générale de l'élimination" (Paris, 1859); "Calcolo degli errori" (Turin, 1867), translated into French under the title of "Traité élémentaire du calcul des erreurs" (Paris, 1869); and most important of all, "Théorie des formes binaires" (Paris, 1876), translated into German (Leipzig, 1881). For a list of the memoirs of Faa di Bruno, see the "Catalogue of Scientific Papers of the Royal Society: (London, 1868, 1877, 1891), t. II, vii, and ix.

Paul H. Linehan.