Vol. 4, No. 3-4, 2016

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Lucio Russo: A multifaceted life

Raffaele Esposito and Francesco dell’Isola

Vol. 4 (2016), No. 3-4, 197–198

Lucio Russo was born in Venice, Italy, on 22 November 1944. He attended high school at the Liceo Ginnasio Giambattista Vico in Naples; in the same city he then studied at the Università degli Studi Federico II, from which he graduated cum laude in 1969 with a thesis on quantum diffusion (Laurea in physics). In 1970–72 he held a research fellowship at the Istituto di Fisica Teorica of Naples and in 1973–78 he was adjunct professor (professore incaricato) at the University of Naples. In 1977–80 he was assistant professor of Rational Mechanics at the University of Modena, becoming full professor there in 1980. In 1982 he spent a research period at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (Bures-sur-Yvette, France), and in 1982–83 he was visiting professor at Princeton University (USA). From 1984 until his retirement in 2015 he was full professor at University Tor Vergata of Rome. In 1999–2000 and 2000–2001 he obtained a secondment at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. In 2010 he was awarded the International Prize “Tullio Levi-Civita” for the Mathematical and Mechanical Sciences.

During his professorship he taught, among other courses, Probability, General Physics, Rational Mechanics, Mathematical Methods for Physics, Mathematical Physics, Partial Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, Real Analysis, History of Science, History of Mathematics.

His research activity covered several topics, from statistical mechanics (Gibbs measures of the Ising model) to probability theory (percolation theory, finite systems of random variables), reconstruction of images and recognition of shapes, chaotic nonlinear transformations (Hénon map) and history of science. Among his books, The Forgotten Revolution (Springer, 2004), Segmenti e bastoncini (Feltrinelli, 1998), Flussi e riflussi (Feltrinelli, 2003), Ingegni minuti (Feltrinelli, 2010; with E. Santoni), L'America dimenticata (Mondadori Università, 2013), and Stelle, atomi e velieri (Mondadori Università, 2015).

His results in technical directions, as well as his contributions in history of science, have been characterized by remarkable ingenuity and freshness, answering some important questions and asking interesting new ones.

We, editors of this special issue, dedicate it to Lucio in friendship and admiration, on behalf of the whole Editorial Board of MEMOCS.

Received: 8 December 2016
Published: 17 December 2016
Raffaele Esposito
M&MOCS, Università degli Studi dell’Aquila
Francesco dell’Isola
Università di Roma “La Sapienza”