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Person: Bogolyubov, Nikolai Nikolaevich
Nikolai Bogolyubov was a Russian mathematician and theoretical physicist who made contributions to quantum field theory, to classical and quantum statistical mechanics and to the theory of dynamical systems.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- His parents were Nikolai Mikhailovich Bogolyubov and Olga Nikolaevna.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich was eight years old when the October Revolution of 1917 started the events which would lead to the Soviets taking power and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.
- Indeed in 1922, although he was only thirteen years old, he began attending research seminars at Kiev University run by Nikolai Mitrofanovich Krylov.
- Both Dmitry Aleksandrovich Grave and Nikolai Krylov quickly realised the potential of their young student and helped him greatly.
- In 1923 Bogolyubov began to undertake mathematical research assisted by Krylov and produced his first original results.
- Nikolai Krylov had been appointed chairman of the Mathematical Physics Department of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev in 1922, and in 1925 he formally began to supervise Bogolyubov who had registered for a Candidates Degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) at the Academy in that year.
- At this stage Bogolyubov had no undergraduate degree, but he was accepted for postgraduate studies because of his proven exceptional abilities.
- Already during that period one of the characteristic features of Bogolyubov's scientific gifts had become clearly pronounced; he is, if one may use the expression, a specialist in problems which cannot be attacked by usual methods and require an approach new in principle.
- A number of results obtained by him at that time have long since become classical; Bogolyubov's mathematical papers have attained widespread international renown and recognition.
- In 1930 Bogolyubov was awarded his doctorate (with distinction) by the Presidium of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
- Two years later Bogolyubov began joint work with Nikolai Mitrofanovich Krylov in which they developed a theory of non-linear oscillations; they called their topic 'non-linear mechanics'.
- The move towards mechanics was for Bogolyubov a step on a road which led to theoretical physics where he made many deep contributions.
- In July the Soviets evacuated the skilled workers to the east and Bogolyubov was evacuated to Ufa in Bashkortostan.
- Bogolyubov, in joint work with other researchers in the Department, published papers such as Theory of Quantized Fields (1957), Problems of the Theory of Dispersion Relations (1958) and Axiomatic Approach in Quantum Field Theory (1969).
- Bogolyubov founded the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1956 at Dubna.
- He became the first director of the laboratory which today is called the Bogolyubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics.
- In 1958 Bogolyubov, in his role as Director of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics, suggested that there should be systematic exchanges of scientists between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and CERN.
- In 1957 Bogolyubov published Introduction to quantum field theory (Russian) coauthored with Dmitrii V Shirkov.
- The International Congress of Mathematicians was held in Edinburgh in 1958 and Bogolyubov (jointly with Vasilii Vladimirov) gave one of the plenary addresses On some mathematical problems of quantum field theory.
- This was not the only connection Bogolyubov had with the International Congress of Mathematicians, for he was a member of the committee in charge of awarding the Fields medals at the 1982 Congress held in Warsaw.
- It is just such an ability, bordering on art and based on brilliant physical and mathematical intuition, which is the outstanding characteristic of Bogolyubov's scientific creative activity.
- The organic welding together of mathematics and physics compels everyone who studies the works of Bogolyubov to recall those times when the representatives of the exact sciences were simply called natural philosophers.
- This is where we see the Bogolyubov trait of scientific style: to globally appraise the character of the problem and to establish its principal solubility, and then, without being held back by difficulties, to create an adequate mathematical apparatus for solving this problem (this is where we come across Hilbert's "wir mussen wissen, wir werden wissen").
- All this enabled Bogolyubov to establish large scientific schools of non-linear mechanics, mathematical physics, and theoretical physics.
- One aspect of Bogolyubov's work which we have not mentioned yet is his activities in the secret city for nuclear research and nuclear arms production named Arzamas-16.
- Bogolyubov and his students organized the mathematical section at this site.
- The enormous erudition and talent of Bogolyubov came in very handy! ...
- Bogolyubov himself completed a series of brilliant papers on the theory of stability of a plasma in a magnetic field and on the theory and applications of the kinetic equations, and he began his construction of axiomatic quantum field theory.
- Bogolyubov was sent to the steppes of Kazakhstan for the tests.
- Bogolyubov worked at that site for over three years; he was then just over 40.
- Bogolyubov received many honours for his outstanding contributions to mathematics and theoretical physics.
- For distinguished service Bogolyubov was awarded the Gold Star of Hero of Socialist Labour in 1969 and again ten years later.
- Not only was Bogolyubov honoured by receiving many prizes, he has also been honoured by having several prizes named for him.
- For example the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research awards the Bogolyubov Prize for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics and applied mathematics.
- It also awards a Bogolyubov Prize for Young Scientists.
- The Ukrainian Academy of Sciences also awards a Bogolyubov Prize for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics and applied mathematics.
- We note that several of the authors of articles written as a tribute to Bogolyubov (which we list in the references) had been his students.
Born 21 August 1909, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Died 13 February 1992, Moscow, Russia.
View full biography at MacTutor
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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