◀ ▲ ▶History / 20th-century / Person: Postnikov, Mikhail Mikhailovich
Person: Postnikov, Mikhail Mikhailovich
Mikhail Postnikov was a Soviet mathematician who worked in algebraic and differential topology.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Postnikov attended school in Perm for eight years but it was not a good experience for him since he was far ahead of his fellow pupils but was not allowed to skip classes.
- (In fact Perm had been renamed Molotov in 1940 so it was in fact Molotov University that he entered - however, we shall continue to was the name Perm for both the city and its university.) Although Postnikov was not at all impressed by most of his professors, whom he felt were simply reading lectures from a textbook, he did find one professor, Sof'ja Aleksandrovna Janovskaja, inspiring.
- She had with her a brilliant third year student, Eugene Borisovich Dynkin, and quickly Postnikov became convinced that he would only have top quality lecturers if he attended Moscow University.
- Postnikov had wanted to travel with them but special permission was required before anyone was allowed into Moscow and Postnikov was denied permission.
- Somehow or other, in November 1943 some time after Janovskaja had begun teaching again in Moscow, Postnikov arrived there on a train having hidden away and, knowing Janovskaja's address, was able to arrive unannounced at her home.
- The chairman of the Department was Ivan Georgievich Petrovsky and he accepted Janovskaja's advice that Postnikov was capable of passing the first year examinations and entering second year courses.
- By December 1943 Postnikov had passed not only the first year examinations but some second year ones too and he began his studies.
- Postnikov, still only seventeen years old, graduated from Moscow State University in the summer of 1945 with a Master's degree.
- called me in to say, "Postnikov, you need to have an advisor for your senior thesis.
- Continuing to work with Pontryagin, Postnikov was awarded his Candidate's Degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) in 1949.
- After the award of his Ph.D., Postnikov began working in Pontryagin's Department in the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow.
- In 1953 J C H Whitehead described Postnikov's results as "the greatest achievement in algebraic topology in recent years".
- For this work, Postnikov was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1961.
- Almost all the Soviet books on algebraic topology that have been published since the war have appeared with his active participation (direct authorship, translation, editing, recommendation for translation, and so on) and almost all the Moscow algebraic topologists are either students of Postnikov or students of his students, or students of students of his students.
- Let us look briefly at some of the Postnikov's books referred to in this quotation.
- This book is based on special lectures delivered by Postnikov to undergraduate and graduate students at Moscow State University.
- We have changed the chronological sequence of Postnikov's publications slightly to list finally the six textbooks which he wrote corresponding to six series of lectures on geometry given to undergraduate and graduate students at Moscow State University.
- Postnikov's articles and television appearances concerning the reform of the education system have made a large impact on society at large.
Born 27 October 1927, Shatura, Russia. Died 27 May 2004, Moscow, Russia.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Russia, Topology
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive