The Department of Mathematics of the University of Trento was constituted in the mid seventies, formerly as Department of Mathematics and Physics, assuming the actual denomination at the beginning of the eighties.
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At that time the University of Trento was still a private university, with only three faculties and a small number of students.
The first group of research at the Department of Mathematics was mainly involved in Calculus of Variations, more specifically in problems concerning the minimization of functionals like those describing minimal surfaces or surfaces having assigned mean curvature.
Another group was studying Algebra, in particular Finite Groups. Some other researchers were working in Partial Differential Equations of non linear type, like Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics or Volterra equations of population dynamics. Among the professors at that time, the most known are probably M. Miranda (still in Trento) and E. Giusti (now at the University of Florence) in the field of Calculus of Variations, G. Zacher (now at the University of Padova) and M.W. Baldoni (now at the University of Rome-Tor Vergata) in Algebra, G. Da Prato (now at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa) and H. Beirao da Veiga (now at the University of Pisa) in the field of Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations. Their influence on the research at the Department of Mathematics has been important for many years, even after their departure from Trento.
At the beginning of the eighties another group of researchers started to work in Algebraic Geometry and Complex Analysis, and after some years several new members of the Department were studying these topics. In these fields the most known researchers have been A. Tognoli (still in Trento) and A. Silva (now at the University of Rome-La Sapienza).
Summing up, the three main directions of research until recently can be identified in: Calculus of Variations and Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations, Algebraic Geometry, and Theory of Groups.
Finally, a further objective of the Department is the promotion of mathematical knowledge, especially in interaction with the school sytem.