Francesco Bonaventura Cavalieri

Cavalieri, Francesco Bonaventura


Born 1598 in Milan; died Nov. 30, 1647, in Bologna. Italian mathematician. Monk of the Hieronymite order.

Beginning in 1629, on the recommendation of Galileo, Cavalieri occupied the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna. In his work Geometry (1635) he developed a new method of determining areas and volumes, the method of indivisibles. The indivisibles are parallel chords of a plane figure and parallel plane sections of a solid. He introduced the concept of the “sum total” of the indivisibles drawn within the outline of a figure. The ratio of two “sum totals” of indivisibles was an embryonic form of the ratio of two definite integrals. The works of Cavalieri played a large role in the formation of the calculus of infinitesimals.


Struik, D. J. Kratkii ocherk istorii matematiki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)