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Person: Vladimirov, Vasilii Sergeevich
Vasily Vladimirov was a Russian mathematician who worked in number theory as well as mathematical physics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- St Petersburg had been renamed Petrograd in 1914 and it still had this name when Vladimirov was born, although it was renamed Leningrad in 1924 when he was one year old.
- Vladimirov began his schooling in 1930 at a time when food shortages were beginning to have an impact.
- The Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union meant that the initial years of the war had little effect on life in Leningrad and Vladimirov was able to study at the University.
- Vladimirov took part in this defence.
- Vladimirov worked on building defences there but, in August 1941, as the defences were collapsing under the German attack, he went to Tosno, a town 50 km southeast of the centre of Leningrad where again defences were being built in an attempt to protect Leningrad.
- Again the German armies attacked and, at the end of August, Vladimirov left the defences at Tosno when he was drafted into the Red Army.
- Vladimirov was sent to an Air Force training academy on the Leningrad front where he learnt to drive tractors.
- In addition to his work as a tractor driver, Vladimirov worked for the Air Force as a meteorologist.
- Vladimirov served in a number of different units and was attached for a while to the 13th Air Force Corps.
- The lifting of the siege did not mean the end of the war, however, and from December 1944 to October 1945 Vladimirov served with an anti-aircraft unit in Leningrad which was part of the air defence system for the city.
- In May 1945 all German troops surrendered to the Allies but Vladimirov continued to serve in Leningrad until October when he was discharged, given the rank of sergeant major in the reserves, and permitted to return to his university studies at Leningrad University.
- He was an expert on quadratic forms and it was in this area that he suggested that Vladimirov undertake research.
- For his second thesis, Vladimirov looked at packing problems, in particular giving necessary conditions on a lattice for a maximally dense packing of convex bodies in 3-dimensions.
- In the year that he graduated, Vladimirov was appointed as a junior researcher in the Leningrad Branch of the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
- Under different circumstances it seems likely that Vladimirov would have had a career as a top researcher in number theory.
- Vladimirov was assigned to assist Leonid Vitalevich Kantorovich calculating critical parameters of certain simple nuclear systems.
- Vladimirov was one of the many scientists brought in to assist with the development of the bomb.
- This was highly significant for Vladimirov's career since he continued to collaborate with Bogolyubov and they were still writing joint papers in the 1970s.
- The physicists passed mathematical assignments to the team in which Vladimirov was working and, prompted by these problems, he developed a new technique for the numerical solution of boundary value problems specifically designed for the type of problems which were encountered.
- The numerical methods for solving the kinetic equation of neutron transfer in nuclear reactors which he presented in 1952 is now known as the 'Vladimirov method'.
- The mathematics that Vladimirov was doing as part of the atomic bomb project was the basis for his candidate's thesis which he defended on 23 June 1953.
- The first Soviet thermonuclear bomb was successfully tested on 12 August 1953 and, shortly after, Vladimirov was awarded the Stalin Prize for his contribution to the successful project.
- Vladimirov was appointed as a Senior Researcher at this Institute in January 1955.
- Thus, he first proved the theorem on the uniqueness, existence, and smoothness of the solution of the single-velocity transport equation, established properties of the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions, and gave a new variational principle (the Vladimirov principle).
- Applying this principle to the spherical harmonics method, he found the optimal boundary conditions for this method, and they coincided exactly with the known Marshak conditions in the one-dimensional case (the Marshak-Vladimirov conditions).
- Vladimirov began working in Moscow at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in 1956.
- Following his teacher Bogolyubov, Vladimirov was one of the first to be actively involved in developing these new directions.
- In 1958 Vladimirov defended his doctoral thesis (equivalent to a D.Sc.) at the Steklov Mathematical Institute, USSR Academy of Sciences.
- His thesis contained what is today known as the 'Vladimirov variational principle' which he applied to the one-velocity transport equation and derived the best boundary conditions in the method of spherical harmonics for convex regions.
- Vladimirov writes in the Introduction that the book is intended to cover those aspects of several complex variables which are of use in quantum field theory.
- In 1967 Vladimirov published the book The equations of mathematical physics (Russian) which was written at advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level.
- Based on the definition of quasi-asymptotic behaviour of generalized functions, created by the authors in the 1970s, and on many publications of V S Vladimirov and his pupils, we have here a collection of many definitions and results in a very strong and unified form.
- Throughout his career, Vladimirov continued his interest in number theory, the topic with which he began his research career.
- Vladimirov received many awards for his contributions, and we have already mentioned some of these honours.
Born 9 January 1923, Dyaglevo, Volkhovsk, near Petrograd, Russia. Died 3 November 2012, 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