Vladimir Ivanovich Smirnov

(1887 - 1974)

    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.

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Last updated:  03.01.04