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Guido Castelnuovo studied mathematics at the University of Padua. There he was taught by Veronese who gave Castelnuovo an interest in geometry. Castelnuovo graduated from Padua in 1886 and spent the following year in Rome on a postgraduate scholarship.
After his year in Rome Castelnuovo obtained his first appointment as assistant to D'Ovidio at the University of Turin. While at Turin he was strongly influenced by Corrado Segre. In 1891 Castelnuovo was appointed to the Chair of Analytic and Projective Geometry at the University of Rome. At Rome Castelnuovo was a colleague of Cremona and, after Cremona's death in 1903, Castelnuovo began to teach the advanced geometry courses. Later in his career at Rome he taught courses on probability theory.
Castelnuovo retired from teaching at the University of Rome in 1935. This was a period of great political difficulty in Italy as in the rest of Europe. Italy's increasingly close alliance with Hitler and his policies was resented and feared by many in Italy and most certainly by Castelnuovo. There was a sudden decision to impose antiSemitic laws in 1938 which condemned Jews as unpatriotic, excluded from government posts and from state universities. Castelnuovo organised special courses to instruct these Jewish students.
Castelnuovo did important work in algebraic geometry publishing Geometria analitica e proiettiva in 1903. He produced a series of papers over a period of 20 years which, together with Enriques, finally produced a classification of algebraic surfaces. His other special areas of interest in geometry included the invariant theory of surfaces and rationality of plane involutions.
Castelnuovo also wrote on probability, publishing Calcolo della probabilitá in 1919 and on the theory of relativity in 1923. An interest in the history of mathematics is evident from the interesting history he wrote on the calculus up to the time of Newton and Leibniz.
Another of his interests was natural philosophy, in particular he was interested in determinism and chance, causality and indeterminacy.
Castelnuovo was appointed as a special commissioner of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in 1944. Then he became president of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, remaining in this position until his death. On 5 December 1949 he had the honour of being named senator of the Italian Republic. Among his many foreign honours was election to the Académie des Sciences of Paris.
References (8 books/articles)