Person: Nikolski, Serge Mikhalovich
Serge Nikolski was a Russian mathematician who worked in functional analysis and partial differential equations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- We have never seen anything other than Mikhalovich for his patronymic.
- At the age of fourteen Serge Mikhalovich began working as a forester but also had a job as an observer at the Krasnyi Kordon meteorological station, one of around twenty large and well-equipped meteorological stations then existing in Russia.
- Nikolski tried in 1925 to enter the Kiev Polytechnical Institute without a recommendation, but he was rejected, not even given an examination.
- Thus, Nikolski found himself in Ekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk).
- We have given quite a few details about Gruzintsev since we believe that he was important in changing Nikolski from a career in engineering to one in mathematics.
- Nikolski graduated from Dnipropetrovsk University in 1929 and began teaching at the University as an assistant professor.
- Nikolski taught mathematics courses at several of these new educational establishments.
- Pavel Sergeevich Aleksandrov, Benjamin Fedorovich Kagan, Ivan Georgievich Petrovsky and Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov made frequent visits and gave lectures at Dnipropetrovsk.
- Kolmogorov, who had been appointed a professor at Moscow University in 1931, was very impressed by Nikolski's work and began to advise him on writing a Candidate's thesis (equivalent to a Ph.D.).
- Nikolski was allowed to spend 1934-35 as a graduate student at Moscow State University where he attended lecture courses on functional analysis by Abraham Ezechiel Plessner and Lazar Aronovich Lyusternik (1899-1981), as well as seminars by Kolmogorov and Igor' Nikolaevich Khlodovskii (1903-1951) on approximation theory.
- Nikolski submitted his Candidate's Thesis Linear equations in Banach space in 1935 and, after defending his thesis, was awarded the degree.
- German armies advanced towards Moscow and Nikolski played his part in defending the city by working for the Moscow fire brigade and also, along with Alexey Andreevich Lyapunov (1911-1973) (a mathematician working at the Steklov Mathematical Institute), helped with constructing anti-tank fortifications in Maloyaroslavets about 125 km south west of Moscow.
- Nikolski was later awarded the medal "For the Defence of Moscow".
- In late 1941 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow were evacuated to Kazan where they were housed in Kazan University and Nikolski was one of those evacuated.
- In 1947 Nikolski was appointed as a professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
- Over the following fifty years, Nikolski worked at the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Moscow State University, at the Steklov Mathematical Institute, and at MIPT.
- Nikolski was a plenary speaker delivering the lecture Einige Fragen der Approximation von Funktionen durch Polynome Ⓣ(Some questions on approximation of functions by polynomials.).
- The Russian school in this subject, which is now led by Nikolski, has been particularly active during the past two decades.
- As we noted right at the start of this biography, Nikolski lived to be 1907 years old.
Born 30 April 1905, Zavod Talitsa, Perm Province, Russian Empire. Died 9 November 2012, Moscow, Russia.
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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