Person: Bukreev, Boris Yakovlevic
Boris Yakovlevic was a Russian mathematician who worked on the theory of functions of a complex variable, on mathematical analysis, on algebra, on the calculus of variations, and on differential geometry.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In the autumn of 1878 Bukreev entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Kiev University.
- In particular Vasilii Petrovich Ermakov (1845-1922), who was especially interested in the pedagogy of mathematics, taught Bukreev.
- Among all Bukreev's lecturers, Ermakov was the one who exerted the greatest influence on him as an undergraduate.
- But other outstanding lecturers in the Department of Mathematics also taught Bukreev including Mikhail Egorovich Vashchenko-Zakharchenko and P E Romer.
- Other topics which Bukreev studied include: mechanics where be was taught by Ivan Ivanovich Rakhmaninov (1826-1897) from the Department of Mechanics; astronomy taught by Mitrofan Fedorovich Handrikov (1837-1915), the Professor of astronomy; and chemistry taught by A Bazarov.
- In 1880 Bukreev showed he was one of the best students in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics when he was awarded the Faculty's gold medal.
- Before his thesis was published, Bukreev had published several articles such as On some applications of a theorem of Mittag-Leffler and, around the time his thesis was published, another two articles appeared.
- After completing his Master's thesis, Bukreev went on a research visit abroad.
- Bukreev undertook research on Fuchsian functions and, guided by Fuchs, he had completed the work by the end of 1888.
- Fuchsian functions had been studied earlier by Poincaré but his approach had been geometrical, while Bukreev's approach was entirely analytical.
- Bukreev determined the conditions for continuity of Fuchsian groups and constructed differential equations corresponding to each of the discontinuous groups.
- Vashchenko-Zakharchenko was teaching at Kiev when Bukreev was appointed and he had a considerable influence on the direction of Bukreev's research.
- During the 1890s Bukreev produced a series of high quality papers including: On the theory of gamma functions; On some formulas in the theory of elliptic functions of Weierstrass; On the distribution of the roots of a class of entire transcendental functions; and Theorems for elliptic functions of Weierstrass.
- By the end of the 1890s Bukreev's research interests had moved somewhat and he began to undertake research into differential geometry; in 1900 he published A Course on Applications of Differential and Integral Calculus to Geometry.
- Bukreev's work was broad and in addition to the areas of complex functions, differential equations, the theory and application of Fuchsian functions of rank zero, and geometry, he published papers on algebra such as On the composition of groups (1900).
- Bukreev incorporated into his lectures new mathematical ideas that he had developed himself and also the latest research which he had read about in current journals.
- The basic principles Bukreev adopted as a teacher included ensuring completeness of coverage of the topic under discussion, accuracy and clarity of presentation, and presenting his material in simple language.
- Bukreev worked in all these different versions of the university.
- In 1933 the University of Kiev was restored and at this time a Department of Geometry was created in the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty; the first head of this Department was Bukreev.
- Bukreev published a number of books which proved influential.
- Note that, remarkably, Bukreev was ninety-eight years old when this last mentioned paper was published.
- Bukreev also made many contributions to the history of mathematics writing biographies on the life and work of a number of mathematicians including Vasilii Petrovich Ermakov, Mikhail Egorovich Vashchenko-Zakharchenko, and Gaspard Monge.
- Having seen many events in the history of Russian mathematics and the history of the University of Kiev, Bukreev was able to recount many interesting episodes from his personal experience.
- We note that Lobachevsky died only three years before Bukreev was born, yet he was able to give the address at the celebrations for the centenary of his birth.
- Bukreev also contributed to high school education showing a keen interest in the teaching of elementary mathematics.
- In 1925, Bukreev travelled to Leningrad, as a delegate from the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, to deliver his address on 200th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
- Due to his personal charm, Boris Yakovlevic was to his students not only a teacher but an older friend.
- The city itself had suffered great destruction but Bukreev was one of the first to return to the university.
- Bukreev had joined the Moscow Mathematical Society in 1893 and the fiftieth anniversary of his joining fell in the middle of the war.
- Boris Yakovlevic worked on the theory of functions of a complex variable, on mathematical analysis, on algebra, on the calculus of variations, and on differential geometry.
- Boris Yakovlevic educated generations of mathematicians.
- In many parts of the Soviet Union, even in its most remote corners, there are people who know Boris Yakovlevic and remember him with love.
- Boris Yakovlevic did not always personally know the authors of these letters, but they all considered themselves his disciples by reading his books from which they learned to love mathematics.
Born 6 September 1859, Lgov, Kursk gubernia, Russia. Died 2 October 1962, Kiev, Ukranian SSR (now Kyiv, Ukraine).
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive