[FOM] Peano (1912) on generalized functions?

Michael Barany mbarany at gmail.com
Mon Nov 24 10:12:02 EST 2014

Dear FOMers,

In Laurent Schwartz's autobiography, he writes the following:
The mathematician Peano wrote in 1912 on the difficulties of
differentiation: "I am sure that something must be found. There must exist
a notion of generalized functions which are to functions what the real
numbers are to the rationals."

I haven't been able to find the source of this quote in articles circa 1912
in Peano's collected works, and Schwartz does occasionally take liberties
with these sorts of attributions, but I was hoping someone on this list
might recognize the quote or have a quick way of knowing where it's from,
if it is indeed genuine.

Many thanks,

Princeton University
Program in History of Science
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