He is an internationally famous mathematician, scientist, scientific populariser as well as a shrewd writer, an expert on the history of science, politics, philology, philosoephy and religion, and on the combinations of mathematics and humanistic studies.
He studied mathematics in Italy and later specialised in logic in the United States and the Soviet Union. He has taught mathematical logic at the University of Turin and Cornell University in New York State.
His passion for science can also be seen in his writing and his contributions to national newspapers such as La Stampa, Repubblica and Le Scienze.
He is a skilful communicator regarding the continuous research into the connections between mathematics and other subjects. In 2011 he won the Galileo Prize for science popularisation. His most well-known books in the field of science popularisation include Le menzogne di Ulisse (2004) on logic, C’è spazio per tutti (2010) on geometry, and Il museo dei numeri (2013) on arithmetic, published by Einaudi, Mondadori and Rizzoli respectively.
In addition, he is the author of famous best-sellers which have divided critics and readers, such as Il Vangelo secondo la Scienza, published by Einaudi in 1999, Il matematico impertinente and Perché non possiamo essere cristiani, published by Longanesi in 2005 and 2007, Il dizionario della stupidità and La democrazia non esiste published by Rizzoli in 2016 and 2018.
He is also well-known for his debates with the Catholic Church. In 2011 he wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI which received a long reply two years later. Together with the Pope, he published Caro papa teologo, caro matematico ateo.
He makes regular TV appearances on programmes such as Crozza Italia and Il senso della vita and has also taken part in the radio programmes In cammino verso Santiago de Compostela, A tutto Darwin and A tutto Galileo, broadcast on Radio 3 for Radio3 scienza. In 2008, as a result of these experiences he was awarded the Saint-Vincent Prize for revelationary figures on the radio.
He currently writes for Il Fatto Quotidiano.
His latest book is Il Dio della logica. Vita di Kurt Gödel (Longanesi, 2018).