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The Biology of Numbers

The Correspondence of Vito Volterra on Mathematical Biology

  • Giorgio Israel
  • Ana Millán Gasca
Book

Part of the Science Networks · Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 26)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-IX
  2. Mathematical Theories versus Biological Facts: A Debate on Mathematical Population Dynamics in the 30s

  3. Correspondence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 55-55
    2. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 56-58
    3. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 59-60
    4. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 61-121
    5. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 122-129
    6. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 130-200
    7. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 201-208
    8. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 209-210
    9. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 211-215
    10. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 216-220
    11. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 221-222
    12. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 223-266
    13. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 267-278
    14. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 279-288
    15. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 289-292
    16. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 293-302
    17. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 303-305
    18. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 306-340
    19. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 341-347
    20. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 348-351
    21. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 352-367
    22. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 368-373
    23. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 374-388
    24. Giorgio Israel, Ana Millán Gasca
      Pages 389-405

About this book

Introduction

Foreword The modern developments in mathematical biology took place roughly between 1920 and 1940, a period now referred to as the "Golden Age of Theoretical Biology". The eminent Italian mathematician Vito Volterra played a decisive and widely acknowledged role in these developments. Volterra's interest in the application of mathematics to the non physical sciences, and to biology and economics in particular, dates back to the turn of the century and was expressed in his inaugural address at the University of Rome for the academic year 1900/01 (VOLTERRA 1901). Nevertheless, it was only in the mid-twenties that Volterra entered the field in person, at the instigation of his son in law, Umberto D'Ancona, who had confronted him with the problem of competition among animal species, asking him whether a mathematical treatment was possible. From that time on, until his death in 1940, Volterra produced a huge output of publications on the subject. Volterra's specific project was to transfer the model and the concepts of classical mechanics to biology, constructing a sort of "rational mechanics" and an "analytic mechanics" of biological associations. The new subject was thus to be equipped with a solid experimental or at least empirical basis, also in this case following the tried and tested example of mathematical physics. Although very few specific features of this reductionist programme have actually survived, Volterra's contribution was decisive, as is now universally acknowledged, in en­ couraging fresh studies in the field of mathematical biology.

Keywords

Biomathematik Mathematikgeschichte Modellierung biologischer Systeme Volterra biology mathematics

Authors and affiliations

  • Giorgio Israel
    • 1
  • Ana Millán Gasca
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di MatematicaUniversità di Roma “La Sapienza”Roma
  2. 2.Roma

Bibliographic information

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