MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan mathematician Jose Luis Massera, who solved the problem of equilibrium stability in non-linear differential equations, has been honored in Montevideo with a stamp bearing his image to mark the centennial of his birth.
“There is a saying that we Uruguayan mathematicians owe Massera the theorem of existence,” said Roberto Markarian, president of the University of the Republic and author of a Massera biography.
“It is true that Uruguay’s mathematics school is Massera’s daughter,” he said.
Massera, an engineer by training, has won worldwide recognition among mathematicians for his pioneering work on the converse to Lyapunov’s criterion through the well-known Massera’s lemma.
Massera was the first to produce a resolution to a theorem that had been researched for many years, especially by Soviet mathematicians of worldwide reputation in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Massera’s theorem and his efforts, along with (Rafael) Laguardia, to strengthen a specific branch of basic sciences in our country cannot be forgotten,” Markarian said.
Born in Genoa, Italy, in 1915 to Uruguayan parents, Massera died in Montevideo in 2002 after a career that earned him nine honorary doctorates from universities around the world.
Massera, a leader of the Uruguayan Communist Party, was detained in 1975 by the 1973-1985 military regime and tortured during his eight years in prison.
Scientists from around the world created a Paris-based international committee to win his freedom and the military regime released him in 1984.
Massera’s wife, Martha Valentini, and their daughter, Ema Massera, were invited to join Postal Service director Solange Moreira to cancel the stamp issued in the mathematician’s honor.