Antonio Signorini

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Antonio Signorini
Antonio Signorini.jpg
Born (1888-04-02)2 April 1888
Arezzo, Italy
Died 23 February 1963(1963-02-23) (aged 74)
Roma, Italy
Nationality Italian
Fields Continuum mechanics
Constitutive equations
External ballistics
Finite strain theory
Institutions University of Palermo
University of Naples Federico II
Università di Roma
Alma mater Scuola Normale Superiore (1909) (Mathematics degree)
University of Palermo (1921) (Civil engineering degree)
Doctoral advisor Gian Antonio Maggi
Other academic advisors Luigi Bianchi
Tullio Levi-Civita
Doctoral students Carlo Cattaneo
Ida Cattaneo Gasparini
Piero Giorgio Bordoni
Giuseppe Grioli
Giuseppe Tedone
Carlo Tolotti
Other notable students Gaetano Fichera
Known for Signorini expansion
Signorini problem
Notable awards Lavagna prize (1909)
Golden medal of the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL (1920)

Antonio Signorini (2 April 1888 – 23 February 1963) was an influential Italian mathematical physicist and civil engineer of the 20th century. He is known for his work in finite elasticity, thermoelasticity and for formulating the Signorini problem.



He was awarded the gold medal of the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL in 1920, while he was working at the University of Palermo: the members of the judging commission were Luigi Bianchi, Guido Castelnuovo and Tullio Levi-Civita.[1]

In 1924, on the 8th of June, he was elected ordinary non resident member of the mathematics division[2] of the Accademia Pontaniana.[3]

On the 30th of May 1931 he was elected corresponding member of the Società Nazionale di Scienze, Lettere e Arti in Napoli: later on, precisely on the 11th of February 1933 and on the 4th of June 1949 he was elected, respectively, ordinary member and ordinary non resident member of the same academy.[4]

He was elected corresponding member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei on July 15, 1935, and then national member on February 4, 1947.[5] However, he was newer awarded the royal prize of this academy, because he became a very early a member of it, thus losing the right to win a prize.[6]


While only very few scientists between 1845 and 1945 studied the foundations of continuum mechanics, among them there were some of the most distinguished savants of the period: (...). In that period, however, many papers on the subject were published. When not essentially repetitions of earlier studies, these concerned special theories or approximations, most of which have turned later to be unnecessary in the cases when they are justified. Knowledge of the true principles of the general theory seems to have diminished except in Italy, where it was kept alive by the teaching and writing of Signorini.

Research activity[edit]

His scientific production includes more than 114 works, being papers, monographs and textbooks, 17 of which have been collected in his "Opere Scelte" (Selected works).[7]

Teaching activity[edit]

Among his "allievi" there are some of the most important Italian mathematicians and mathematical physicists: a partial list of them is the following one

He was also close friend and teacher of Gaetano Fichera at the Istituto Nazionale di Alta Matematica, inspiring his research in continuum mechanics, his solution of the Signorini problem and the creation of the field of variational inequalities.[8]

Selected publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For more details, see the relation on the awarding of the prize by Bianchi, Castelnuovo & Levi-Civita (1920).
  2. ^ Precisely of the "Classe di Scienze Matematiche Pure e Applicate", (English translation:-"Class of Pure and Applied Mathematics"), as this division is called in Italy.
  3. ^ According to the academic yearbook (2015, p. 112). The exact Italian member title is:"Socio Ordinario Non Residente".
  4. ^ See the academic yearbook (2012, p. 131).
  5. ^ See the academic yearbook (2012, p. 527).
  6. ^ According to Picone (1965), who wrote what could be considered the main biographical reference on Signorini's life and work. Mauro Picone and Antonio Signorini were friends from their childhood in Arezzo: in the commemoration he wrote, Picone deals extensively with several aspects of the life and personality of Antonio Signorini.
  7. ^ See (Signorini 1991).
  8. ^ Forn more information, see the "Signorini problem" entry, or the historical paper (Fichera 1995).


Biographical and general references[edit]

Scientific references[edit]