Person: Bolibrukh, Andrei Andreevich
Andrei Bolibrukh was a Russian mathematician known for his work on ordinary differential equations and especially Hilbert's 21st problem.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Andrei Vlas'evich was posted to quite a number of different places as Andrei Andreevich was growing up and, as a consequence, the boy attended a variety of different schools in different parts of the country - mainly in Moscow, Tallin, and Kaliningrad.
- Andrei kept a low profile among his extrovert and noisy contemporaries.
- Bolibrukh graduated with his diploma (equivalent to a Master's Degree) in 1972 having written a thesis on calculations of the cobordism of manifolds with certain relations on the characteristic classes of their tangent bundles.
- Bolibrukh had begun to take an interest in mathematical topics outside the area of the research he was undertaking for his Candidate's degree, attending an informal seminar organised by A V Chernavskii to study the multi-dimensional Riemann-Hilbert problem.
- He began working at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology but, rather surprisingly, it was two years after completing research for his thesis that Bolibrukh defended it at Moscow State University and was awarded his Candidate's Degree.
- What appeared to be turning into a rather ordinary career for Bolibrukh changed dramatically in 1989 when he solved Hilbert's 21st problem, also known as the Riemann-Hilbert problem.
- It was still believed that what was required was a correction in Plemelj's method to give the expected positive answer but Bolibrukh produced a major surprise when he proved in 1989 that certain prescribed conditions on the singularities led to a negative solution.
- This brilliant work constituted Bolibrukh's doctoral thesis (equivalent to a D.Sc. or habilitation), awarded in 1991, and suddenly he went from being a rather ordinary mathematician to being a real star.
- We should make it clear that it was not simply that Bolibrukh had struck luck with one result.
- Honours were quickly given to Bolibrukh for his extraordinary work.
- Let us record other aspects of Bolibrukh's career.
- Andrei was a wonderful lecturer.
- After every lecture Andrei asked us, the youngest of his audience members, what we had not understood, and we stayed in the lecture room, sometimes for a whole hour, receiving not only answers to our questions but also improvised lectures on general topics.
- Therefore when we had to choose a research advisor we approached Andrei.
- Outside mathematics Bolibrukh's interests included tennis, literature, paintings, and the theatre.
Born 30 January 1950, Moscow, Russia. Died 11 November 2003, Moscow, Russia.
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive