Who is Fubini?

I dig my calc III teacher. He’s awesome. But I wish he’d do what I wish all math teachers would do when they introduce a theorem or lemma or rule: tell us a little bit about the person responsible for it, especially if the theorem/lemma/rule is named after the dude.

Like today we talked a lot about Fubini’s Theorem. We used it in like three examples. I used it on the homework I did right after class.

All the while without knowing who the heck this Fubini guy was.

So I checked him out this afternoon. Guido Fubini was an Italian mathematician who lived from 1879 to 1943. He was pretty into geometry and calculus for most of his life and moved around in different professorships in Europe before accepting an invitation to teach at Princeton in 1939 (partially to get away from the Nazis; he was Jewish).

So what the heck is this theorem, anyway?

Well. Let’s just look at rectangular domains first (because that’s all we’ve learned so far, haha…we’re doing non-rectangular domains tomorrow). So let’s look at a pretty double integral to start.

(P.S. I’m loving this chapter on double integrals already, simply because it means I have to write more integral signs. I FREAKING LOVE THAT SYMBOL.)

Say some rectangular region R is defined by the intervals [a,b] x [c,d]. If a function of two variables z= f(x,y) is continuous over R, then we can write the volume of the solid that lies below the surface z = f(x,y) and above the rectangle R as:




Iterated integrals!

Cool? Cool. So what does Fubini’s Theorem state? Again, assuming z = f(x,y) is continuous over R and R is a rectangular region, Fubini’s Theorem allows us to switch the order of integration while still getting the same correct result at the end:


Which is pretty snazzy (there’s a few other statements in the theorem; I just chose this conclusion as the example to show here).

But what I found most interesting about this theorem is that while double integration has been around for quite a long time, this theorem was proved sometime during Fubini’s lifetime–sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s.  (I can’t find an exact date for it, but that’s mainly because my internet’s deciding to be a bitch right now). Which makes sense, I guess, considering there exist cases where this doesn’t hold and so it may not have been an “obvious” thing or may not have been easily provable…but still. Interesting passage of time before we got to this theorem.


2 responses

  1. It’s a fine theorem, one of those pleasant little ones that gives a result which … well, doesn’t really surprise anyone, I guess, but is quite good to have on your side.


  2. Calc is pretty cool and awesome stuff! Also confusing at times too…


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