Biography – English

Bruno D’Amore, Italian Mathematician and writer

Biography and studies

Bruno D’Amore was born in Bologna on September 28, 1946. His parents moved from Abruzzo to Bologna in the 1930s. He completed all his studies in Bologna, where he took three degrees: in Mathematics, in Pedagogy and in Philosophy. He specialized in “Elementary Mathematics from a higher point of view”. He holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovakia. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary PhD in Social Sciences and Education from the University of Cyprus for the international relevance of his research in Mathematics Education. He is the father of Pier Luigi and married to Martha Isabel Fandiño Pinilla, the mother of Leonardo and Oscar, and his co-author in numerous research works and texts. They live a part of the year in Bogotà and the other part in Lido Adriano (RA), Italy.

At the beginnings of his studies and scientific career his professors were Ettore Carruccio (supervisor for his thesis in Mathematics) for History of Mathematics; Francesco Speranza for Mathematics and Epistemology of Mathematics; Franco Frabboni (supervisor for his thesis in Pedagogy) and Piero Bertolini for Pedagogy; Enzo Melandri and Maurizio Matteuzzi (supervisor for his thesis in Philosophy) for Philosophy. In the field of educational research, his first international contact was with Efraim Fischbein (in October 1980, at Cognola of Trento, Italy) and he subsequently collaborated with Gérard Vergnaud, Guy Brousseau, Colette Laborde, Raymond Duval, Luis Radford, Juan Godino, Salvador Llinares, Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, Luis Rico, Hermann Maier, Athanasios Gagatsis, Ricardo Cantoral, Luis Moreno Armella, Carlos E. Vasco, Vicenç Font and many others, with whom he has had an intense relation of study and research.


His entire academic career has been at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bologna, Italy, as a student also with a CNR scholarship, as an assistant professor in Geometry, as an associate professor in Mathematical Logic and subsequently in Mathematics Education and as a full professor in Mathematics Education. He left the University of Bologna on October 1, 2010. He has taught the bachelor’s degree courses and master’s degree courses on Mathematics and also postgraduate courses at the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. He has also taught at the Faculties of Engineering, Education and Psychology. Furthermore, he has taught degree courses at the Universities of Bolzano (located in Bressanone) and Urbino.

His life has been principally devoted to the study and research in the field of Mathematics Education, without excluding the popularization of science, courses for teachers, art criticism and literature. He has taught courses and seminars mainly on Mathematics Education in many European and Latin American universities. He collaborates with PhD courses in Italy, Mexico, Colombia, Slovakia, Spain, France and Brazil, supervising theses and being member of PhD thesis examining committees. He currently teaches seminars and supervises PhD theses at the Universidad Distrital “Francisco José de Caldas”, Bogotà, Colombia, and other postgraduate courses at several universities in Colombia.

He was the director of postgraduate courses of specialisation and Courses of Higher Education in Bologna and has held similar positions in several other countries. He has collaborated on many occasions with the Ministry of Education in Italy, Switzerland, Colombia, Luxembourg and other countries.

Research in Mathematics

He is an author of research publications in the following fields: Theory of graphs and hypergraphs; Geometry of point transformations; Deontic Logic; Game theory. For many years he has also been a reviewer for Mathematical Reviews.

Research in Mathematics Education and its popularization through teacher training

He was the founder in early 1980s of the NRD (Nucleo di Ricerca Didattica), the Bologna research group in Mathematics Education, located in the Department of Mathematics of the University. Still today he is its scientific coordinator.

Until 2011 he was the scientific coordinator of the NRD’s research projects, funded by the University of Bologna and other funded first by the CNR (National Research Council) then by the Ministry of Education and Research and subsequently by the PRIN (National Interest Research Projects).

From August 1992 to August 1995 he was the president of the GIRP, Groupe International de Recherche en Pédagogie de la Mathématique (located in the Institut Supérieur d’Études et de Recherches Pédagogiques, Walferdange, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg). In this capacity he organised and directed international conferences in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain and Italy.

From 1994 to 2000 he was a member of the C.I.I.M. (Commissione Italiana per l’Insegnamento della Matematica) and the U.M.I. (Unione Matematica Italiana).

Since October 2006 he has been a member of the Research Group MESCUD (Matemáticas Escolares Universidad Distrital), at the Universidad Distrital “Francisco José de Caldas”, Bogotà, Colombia.

From 2006 to 2008 he was the scientific coordinator of the research group in Mathematics Education at the Alta Scuola Pedagogica in Locarno, Switzerland, subsequently SUPSI.

Since 2008 he has been a member of the Grup de Recerca sobre Anàlisi Didàctica en Educació Matemàtica (GRADEM), Barcelona, Spain, on behalf of the xarxa-REMIC de Catalunya.

Since April 2012 he has been an asesor (consultant) of the research group SUMMA, Mathematics and Mathematics Education, University of Medellin, Colombia.

He is a member of the scientific committee of many journals in Italy, Mexico, Cyprus, Spain, Venezuela, Turkey, Switzerland, Slovakia, Brazil, Colombia. He is also a member of the scientific committee of research groups and international conferences, and a referee of several journals in many countries.

He founded the journal La matematica e la sua didattica and has directed it for 24 years.

He is directing several series of books for various prestigious Italian publishers.

He was a co-editor, with Luis Radford, of a special issue in English, French and Spanish of the journal Relime (Cinvestav, México DF, México) in 2006: Semiotics, Culture and Mathematical Thinking.

He is the coordinator of the section “Didactics” of the monthly journal Vita Scolastica by Giunti Scuola, Florence; for the same publisher, he is the author of a page of answers to the journal Scuola dell’Infanzia readers’ questions.

He is the author of about 670 research articles and popularization articles on Mathematics Education and of about 140 books (as author or editor) in various languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Greek and others).

He is the author of about 930 book reviews in journals in many countries.

He held thousands of conferences and courses for teacher training in different countries.

He participated in many conferences, congresses and seminars, always with speeches, reports and lectures, in Europe, America and Asia.

He organized several research conferences and research popularization conferences, both in Italy and abroad; among them is the famous National Conference Incontri con la matematica which has reached its 27th edition in 2013.

He was the Chief Organizer of the Topic Group 14: Infinite processes throughout the curriculum, at the VIII ICME, Sevilla, 14-21 July 1996, giving the opening and closing speeches. One of the advisory panels was Raymond Duval.

He participated with papers and seminars in many public events of research popularization and Mathematics popularization in various countries.

Since the 1980s, his research in Mathematics Education has been focused on the following areas:

  • the functions of natural language in the mathematics educational practice and its limits due to the interferences with mathematical language;
  • the specificity of problem solving in Mathematics at all school levels (including the problems of teachers’ attitudes and beliefs);
  • the learning of concepts related to the mathematical infinity and other specific contents (mutual relations between area and perimeter, angle, the number zero, …);
  • the problem of the initial and in-service teacher training in Mathematics at all school levels;
  • the institutionalization of knowledge (the transition from personal to institutional knowledge and the role of the didactic system in the specific case of Mathematics);
  • the relationship between Semiotics and Noetics, the processes of semiotic representation of mathematical objects in a given semiotic register, the semiotic transformations by treatment (transitions among different semiotic representations in the same register) and by conversion (transitions among semiotic representations in different registers);
  • a critical re-evaluation with modern instruments of subjects that didactic research, particularly of the French school, has made “classical”.

The initial analysis of those research results disclosed that at the basis of the cognitive behaviours of both teachers and learners there was a common problem, linked to affective and metacognitive aspects as well as to the idea of Mathematics and to the beliefs about it shared by teachers and learners. In particular, since the second half of the 1990s he has been investigating the motivations and the characteristics underlying the missing transition from devolution to implication and thus the scholarization of knowledge. The idea of scholarization involves the systemic relation teacher-learner-knowledge and deals with different aspects from those that can be ascribed to the didactic contract.

More recently his research has been focusing on six interdependent areas of investigation, each of which could be considered a specific aspect of the same subject which deepens the previous areas of research:

  • problem solving at all school levels;
  • the learning of concepts related to the mathematical infinity;
  • teacher training at all school levels and the development of a critical sensibility in the field of Mathematics, also linked to Ethnomathematics;
  • the institutionalization of knowledge (the transition from personal to institutional knowledge and the role of the didactic system in the specific case of Mathematics);
  • the relationship between Semiotics and Noetics and the processes of semiotic representation of mathematical objects in a given semiotic register (above all the treatment);
  • a critical re-evaluation with modern instruments of subjects that didactic research, particularly of the French school, has made “classical”.

For the last twenty years he has been working in a pragmatist epistemological direction, on the basis of the previous research results, in particular in the field of the infinity (see the bibliography for details).

In this area he has started a research with a sociological emphasis and a review of the semiotic aspects that emerge from the complex teaching-learning process. In particular for many years he has worked on the change of meaning that the learner makes when he passes from one semiotic representation to another through a transformation of treatment he has effected by himself. A transformation of treatment means a transformation of a semiotic representation of a mathematical object in a given register to another semiotic representation in the same register. His work has brought this phenomenon to the scholars’ attention through classroom based studies presented in several international conferences (in particular in Rhodes, Nicosia, Bogotà, Turin, Rome and in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia). In this work he has been supported by Martha Isabel Fandiño Pinilla with whom he has subsequently published several works and participated in many research conferences in Argentina, Colombia, Greece, Brazil etc. as well as in two highly regarded PhDs at Palermo and Bogotà.

He has undertaken research from an ontosemiotic perspective and has published articles in this field.

At time intervals, he writes books and articles containing his own and other international research to spread research results in Mathematics Education. In this field he is author of many publications.

A particular characteristic of his work is that it involves all school levels, from preschool to postgraduate courses, often demonstrating links between cognitive behaviour of learners at different levels. For this attitude he is known to the general public of teachers. He has always emphasized the need to investigate the specific teaching-learning processes at preschool level. For a long time he has pointed out the most significant aspects of those processes, for example, “ingenuous” learning linked to concrete, linguistic and non-formal activities, analyzing their effects in the transition to primary school.

He has conducted and supported several didactic experimentation projects at all school levels, in particular two projects of national relevance:

– MaSE (Matematica nella Scuola Elementare): 11 + 5 volumes published by Franco Angeli (Milano) (project quoted also in the Enciclopedia Pedagogica edited by Mauro Laeng, Appendix 2002, pp. 1228-1230);

– (with the collaboration of Martha Isabel Fandiño Pinilla and Silvia Sbaragli) Matematica nella scuola primaria, percorsi per apprendere: 14 volumes published by Pitagora (Bologna).

Since the 1980s he has devoted experiments, books and articles to mathematics laboratory, conceived of as an instrument and a didactic methodology; he has studied this methodological aspect from an empirical point of view and also theoretical, creating a reference of research in this field. He also spent a lot of years to the idea of “exhibition of mathematics” as a teaching tool, practical and theoretical.

At the beginning of the 1990s, as a result of a sabbatical year and an invitation by the Polytechnic of Chimborazo at Riobamba, Ecuador, he carried out ethnomathematical studies on some indigenous peoples, producing articles published in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

He has always considered the history of Mathematics as a didactic material as well as an important instrument on which to reflect in courses for teachers. In this respect, his bibliography contains many historical sources, conceived not as research subjects but as instruments and references.

Popularization of Mathematics

He has devoted many studies to the popularization of Mathematics in order to reach those who think of it as a hard discipline or those who do not consider it as a true form of culture, as well as in order to provide teachers with coherent and convincing answers that are needed by those students who are unable to grasp the uses and the presence of Mathematics beyond the narrow scholastic context. In this regard he has conducted an intense activity through conferences and seminars not only in the educational field but also for the general public and has published many articles and books, mainly in Italian, some of which have been translated in Spanish and Portuguese.

He has also published specific works on the connection between Mathematics and Literature. With the poet Alberto Bertoni he has held many public evenings on “Poetry and Mathematics”.

Bibliography: The major books for the popularization of Mathematics:

D’Amore B., Matteuzzi M. (1975). Dal numero alla struttura. Bologna: Zanichelli.

D’Amore B. (1976). Elementi di teoria dei giochi. Bologna: Zanichelli.

D’Amore B., Matteuzzi M. (1976). Gli interessi matematici. Venezia: Marsilio.

D’Amore B. (1992). Giochi logici linguistici e matematici. Milano: Angeli.

Arrigo G., D’Amore B. (1992). Infiniti. Milano: Angeli.

D’Amore B., Oliva P. (1994). Numeri. Teoria, storia, curiosità, giochi e didattica nel mondo dei numeri. Milano: Angeli.

Bagni G.T., D’Amore B. (1994). Alle radici storiche della prospettiva. Milano: Angeli.

D’Amore B. (2001). Più che ‘l doppiar de li scacchi s’inmilla. Incontri di Dante con la Matematica. Bologna: Pitagora.

Bagni G.T., D’Amore B. (2006). Leonardo e la matematica. Firenze: Giunti. [Spanish edition, 2007, Bogotà: Magisterio; Portuguese edition, 2012, São Paolo: Livraria da Fisica].

D’Amore B. (2007). Matematica dappertutto. Percorsi matematici inusuali e curiosi. Bologna: Pitagora. [Spanish edition, 2008, Bogotà: Magisterio].

D’Amore B. (2009). Giocare con la matematica. Foreword by Ennio Peres. Bologna: Archetipolibri.

D’Amore B. (2009). Matematica, stupore e poesia. Contributions of: Claudio Bartocci, Umberto Bottazzini, Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, Michele Emmer, Sandro Graffi, Giorgio Israel, Gabriele Lolli, Piergiorgio Odifreddi, Luis Radford. Firenze: Giunti. [Portuguese edition, 2012, São Paolo: Livraria da Fisica].

Bolondi G., D’Amore B. (2010). La matematica non serve a nulla. Provocazioni e risposte per capire di più. Bologna: Compositori. [Spanish edition, 2011, Bogotà: Editorial B].

D’Amore B. (2011). Dante e la matematica. Foreword by Umberto Bottazzini and Emilio Pasquini. Firenze: Giunti. [The Theatre Company L’Aquila Signorina has produced a theatrical version of this book which has had over 40 performances in 2013].

D’Amore B., Fandiño Pinilla M.I. (2011). Spunti di storia della matematica ad uso didattico nella scuola primaria. Project: Matematica nella scuola primaria, percorsi per apprendere. Vol. 6. Bologna: Pitagora.

Taddia F., D’Amore B. (2012). Perché diamo i numeri? Trieste: Editoriale Scienze.

D’Amore B., Fandiño Pinilla M.I. (2012). Matematica, come farla amare. Miti, illusioni, sogni e realtà. Firenze: Giunti Scuola.

D’Amore B., Fandiño Pinilla M.I. (2013). La nonna di Pitagora. L’invenzione matematica spiegata agli increduli. Foreward by Maurizio Matteuzzi. Bari: Dedalo.

Linguistics and Semiotics

During the 1970s he carried out studies and research on issues concerning Linguistics and Semiotics, in particular with regard to specific types of natural language on the basis of its functions, and he also worked on some formal proposals for a structural description of the semantics of the natural language (these works were published in the journal Rendiconti, edited by Roberto Roversi, and in the journal VS Quaderni di studi semiotici, then edited by Umberto Eco).

In the 1990s he resumed those studies but with specific reference to Mathematics Education (the interference between everyday and mathematical language in the teaching-learning process, the influence of natural language on problem solving, the presence of Semiotics in the analysis of classroom situations, and others).

An example is:

D’Amore B., Fandiño Pinilla M.I., Iori M. (2013). Primi elementi di semiotica. La sua presenza e la sua importanza nel processo di insegnamento-apprendimento della matematica. Foreword by Raymond Duval and Luis Radford. Bologna: Pitagora. [Spanish edition, 2013, Bogotà: Magisterio, with foreword by Carlos E. Vasco].


He is the author of two literary works:

D’Amore B. (2003). Icosaedro. Foreword by Antonio Faeti. Bologna: Gedit. [Two short stories in this book have won national literary prizes: see below “Literary prizes”].

D’Amore B. (2008). Allievi. Bologna: Gedit. Foreword by Gian Mario Anselmi; presentation on the back cover of Alberto Bertoni. [Spanish edition, 2010, Bogotà: Editoral B, foreword by Fabio Jurado Valencia].

He has also published some studies on poetry criticism in specialist journals and newspapers.


From 2000 to 2005 he was the Culture Councillor for the Comune of Castel San Pietro Terme (BO), Italy, with direct appointment by the Mayor.

Art criticism, Mathematics and Figurative Arts

Since the middle of the 1960s he has participated in Bologna’s artistic life. The frequent meetings with Roberto Roversi, Antonio Faeti, Mario Nanni, Elio Marchegiani and Concetto Pozzati led him to an increasingly close involvement in history and art criticism.

From 1966 to 1969 he consistently visited Figurative Art exhibitions in Italy, and developed contacts with avant-garde artists and critics, including Giorgio Cortenova, Renato Barilli, Franco Solmi, Franco Torriani, Miklos Varga and many others, as well as Bruno Munari.

In 1969 he started an intense activity of collaboration in the organisation of events and exhibitions, dedicating his time to art criticism, especially thanks to the relationship with Filiberto Menna.

At the beginning of the 1970s, he floated the idea of Exact Art, working together with Francesco Speranza, Franco Torriani, Franco Solmi (at that time Director of the Galleria Comunale di Arte Moderna in Bologna) and Filiberto Menna, organising exhibitions, conferences and debates at the Galleria Comunale di Arte Contemporanea in Bologna, in Torino and Ferrara (Galleria d’Arte del Palazzo dei Diamanti) (in all cases with publication of the Proceedings).

In 1974 he organised an international exhibition with Filiberto Menna at the Galleria L’Obelisco in Rome: De Mathematica; the catalogue is still available; the participating artists were: Vincenzo Agnetti, Joseph Albers, Robert Barry, Franco Berdini, Max Bill, Mel Bochner, Cosimo Carlucci, Luisella Carretta, Roger Cutforth, Alessandro De Alexandris, Maurits C. Escher, Alberto Faietti, Aurelio Fiorentino, Dan Graham, Laura Grisi, Riccardo Guarneri, Joseph Kosuth, James Leong, Julio Le Parc, Anna Paola Levi Montalcini, Sol Lewitt, Carl Magnus, Elio Marchegiani, Enzo Mari, Mario Merz, Piet Mondrian, François Morellet, Bruno Munari, Domenico Palamara, Charles Perry, Attilio Pierelli, Edward Carlos Plünkett, Piero Rambaudi, Hermann Richter, Lucio Saffaro, Aldo Spinelli, Pierluigi Vannozzi, Victor Vasarely, Bernar Venet, Rolf Whilelmsson.

In 1977 he became a member of the AICA (Association International des Critiques d’Art), Italian board of examinations formed by Giulio Carlo Argan and Palma Bucarelli, on the proposal by Filiberto Menna. The headquarters of AICA were at this time at the Louvre; the Italian section was at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Contemporanea in Roma, directed by Palma Bucarelli.

On many occasions he was the secretary of a Quadriennale in Veneto, co-director of a private art gallery in Bologna (Il Cortile, via Castiglione) and a consultant at various public and private arts galleries in Italy.

Honours and Awards

He was nominated honorary citizen of Castel San Pietro Terme (BO) and Cerchio (AQ) in 1997 and in 2005, respectively.

He was awarded the “Lo Stilo d’Oro” Prize, 2000 edition, Didactics section, in the tenth edition of the National Pedagogy Prize “Pescara”, for his book Elementi di Didattica della Matematica, also published in Spanish (2006, Bogotà: Magisterio) and Portuguese (2007, São Paulo: Livraria da Física).

The book: La matematica non serve a nulla. Provocazioni e risposte per capire di più, written with Giorgio Bolondi, Bologna: Compositori, was selected by the scientific committee of the “Pianeta Galileo 2010”, a programme of scientific popularization promoted by Tuscany Regional Council.

National and international conferences were held in his honour:

in 1996 in Italy;

in 2005 in Chivilcoy, Argentina, together with Ubiratan D’Ambrosio;

in 2006 in Italy, with publication of the Proceedings;

in 2007 in Canoas do Rio Grande do Sur, Brazil, together with Guy Brousseau and Ubiratan D’Ambrosio;

on October 8, 2011, in Bologna, Department of Mathematics, University of Bologna, with publication of the Proceedings and the patronage of several universities and research centers worldwide.

In February 2013 the University of Cyprus awarded him a PhD ad honorem in Social Sciences and Education for the international relevance of his research in Mathematics Education. The award ceremony was held on October 15, 2013.

On May 10, 2013, at Medellin, Colombia, during the closing ceremony of the “V Congreso Internacional de Formación y Modelación en Ciencias Básicas”, he received the “Premio a la Contribucion Cientifica Internacional en Ciencia y Tecnologia” from the University of Medellin.

Literary prizes 

The short story Trattoria, the first one in the collection Icosaedro (D’Amore, 2003; see above) won the “Arturo Loria 2003” prize, Comune di Carpi; and as such has been published again in the volume: AA.VV. (2003). Riflessioni dopo la sera e altri racconti. Modena: Diabasis. 39-51.

The short story Brest o Esercizio, the last one in the collection Icosaedro (D’Amore, 2003; see above) won the “Il Ceppo 2003” prize, Comune of Pistoia.

Studies on Dante Alighieri’s work

He has devoted in-depth studies to the mathematical content of Dante Alighieri’s work, writing many essays and participating in specific national and international conferences; for example:

D’Amore B. (2011). Dante e la matematica. Foreword of Umberto Bottazzini and Emilio Pasquini. Firenze: Giunti.

For the complete CV and complete bibliography of Bruno D’Amore: