Guido Stampacchia

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Guido Stampacchia
Guido Stampacchia.jpg
Guido Stampacchia in Tokyo, 1969 (photo from MFO)
Born(1926-03-26)26 March 1926
Died27 April 1978(1978-04-27) (aged 52)

Guido Stampacchia (26 March 1922 – 27 April 1978) was a 20th-century Italian mathematician, known for his work on the theory of variational inequalities, the calculus of variation and the theory of elliptic partial differential equations. [1]


Life and academic career

Stampacchia was born in Naples, Italy from Emanuele Stampacchia and Giulia Campagnano. He obtained his high school certification from the Liceo-Ginnasio Giambattista Vico in Naples in classical subjects, although he showed stronger aptitude for mathematics and physics. [1]

In 1940 he was admitted to the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa for undergraduate studies in pure mathematics. He was drafted in March 1943 but nevertheless managed to take examinations during the summer before joining the resistance movement against the Germans in the defense of Rome in September. He was discharged in June 1945. [1]

In 1944 he won a scholarship to the University of Naples which allowed him to continue his studies. In the 1945-1946 academic year he declined a specialization at the Scuola Normale in the Faculty of Sciences in favour of an assistant position at the Istituto Universitario Navale. [2] In 1949 he was appointed as assistant with tenure to the chair of mathematical analysis, and in 1951 he obtained his "Libera docenza". [3] In 1952 won a national competition for the chair at the University of Palermo. He was nominated Professor on Probation at the University of Genoa later the same year and was promoted to full Professor in 1955.

He married fellow student Sara Naldini in October 1948. Children Mauro, Renata, Giulia, and Franca were born in 1949, 1951, 1955 and 1956 respectively. [1]

Stampacchia was active in research and teaching throughout his career. He made key contributions to a number of fields, including calculus of variation, variational inequalities and differential equations. In 1967 Stampacchia was elected President of the Unione Matematica Italiana. It was about this time that his research efforts shifted toward the emerging field of variational inequalities, which he modeled after boundary value problems for partial differential equations. [1] [4] He was also director of the Istituto per le Applicazioni del Calcolo of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche from December 1968 [5] to 1974.

Stampacchia accepted the position of Professor Mathematical Analysis at the University of Rome in 1968 and returned to Pisa in 1970. He suffered a serious heart attack in early 1978 and died of heart arrest on 27 April that year. [1]

The Stampacchia Medal, an international prize awarded every three years for contributions to the Calculus of Variations, has been established in 2003.

Selected works


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 ( Mazzone 2005 ).
  2. According to De Angelis & Sbordone (1999 , p. 37), he was assistant professor to the chair of mathematical analysis for the academic years 1946/47 and 1947/48.
  3. The "free professorship" (in a literal free English translation) was an academic title similar to the German "Habilitation", no longer in force in Italy since 1970.
  4. Guido Stampacchia on The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
  5. Silvia Mazzone, Guido Stampacchia Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Brezis, Haim (1982). "Review: An introduction to variational inequalities and their applications by David Kinderlehrer and Guido Stampacchia" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 7 (3): 622–627. doi:10.1090/s0273-0979-1982-15073-x.

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Biographical references

General references