V.I.Smirnov graduated from our University in 1910
and worked there from 1915 to the end of his life, maintaining and developping
the traditions of the St.Petersburg mathematical school. His scientific
interests were extraordinary wide. He contributed very much to the analytical
theory of differential equations. His works on the mathematical theory
of the propagation of waves (some of them were joint with his pupil S.L.Sobolev)
are well known. His works on boundary properties of analytical functions
and on the theory of orthogonal polynomials influenced very much the development
of these fields.

V.I.Smirnov was an outstanding teacher and scientific
organizer. During his long life he headed many mathematical and mechanical
chairs (including our Chair -- from 1953 to 1956) and gave an enormous
amount of various lecture courses (general and specialized). V.I.Smirnov
took an active part in creating the Department of Physics of the Leningrad
University and organizing the mathematical teaching for physicists. His
pedagogical ideas and great experience formed the basis of the mathematics
syllabuses for physical departments in our country. For 20 years S.M.Smirnov
headed
**NIIMM
(Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics)**. He was the head
or the initiator of many scientific seminars, including the first Leningrad
seminars on functional analysis and the operator theory, as well as on
approximation methods in analysis. His seminar on mathematical physics
(which still works) is world-famous.

In 1924 V.I.Smirnov started working on "A Course
in Higher Mathematics" which was a work of all his life. Many generations
of future mathematicians, physicists and engineers learned and still learn
by this five volume book which was repeatedly republished and translated
to many languages.

V.I.Smirnov devoted a lot of his forces and time
to studying and popularizing the heritage of Russian mathematicians (Euler,
D.Bernoulli, Ostrogradsky, Lyapunov, Steklov, Gunter, Lappo-Danilevsky).

For his long and fruitful scientific and pedagogical
activity V.I.Smirnov was awarded many honorary titles, orders and prizes.

V.I.Smirnov was a bright personality. For several
decades he was in the center of Leningrad (and not only Leningrad) mathematical
life. At the same time he was extraordinary kind and generous and had a
wholesome influence on many people. We refer to many papers and memoires
of P.Ya.Polubarinova-Kochina, to some works of D.A.Granin. A large article
of O.A.Ladyzhenskaya about V.I.Smirnov prefaces the volume of his works
published by the Leningrad University publishing house in 1988.