A graduate in mathematics from the University of Milan, he has taught History of Mathematics in Calabria, Bologna, Pisa and Palermo.

He has been a professor of History of Science at SISSA in Trieste (with which he still collaborates), at the Vita-Pensiero San Raffaele University in Milan while since 2004 he has been full professor of Complementary Mathematics at the Federigo Enriques Department of Mathematics at the University of Milan.

He has been a visiting professor at numerous foreign universities and scientific institutions. A member of several Italian and international scientific societies, he has been a member of the scientific and editorial board of Italian and foreign congresses, conferences, publishing houses and editorial journals. He has given many invited papers at national and international conferences.

In 2015 he won the Albert Leon Whiteman Prize, the highest award for the history of mathematics, organized by the American Mathematical Society.

His latest books include Pythagoras. The Father of All Theorems, Il Mulino, 2020, Fatal Instants. When Numbers Explained the World, Laterza, 2019; Infinity, Il Mulino, 2018, Numbers, Il Mulino, 2015; Telling Mathematics, Il Mulino, 2015; Hidden Harmony – Geometric Fantasies. The Rise of Complex Function Theory (with Jeremy Gray), Springer-Verlag, 2013; The Fatherland Wants Us Heroes. Mathematicians and Political Life in the Italy of the Risorgimento (with Pietro Nastasi), Zanichelli Editore, 2013.

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