Mathematicians

Olga Ladyzhenskaya

Olga Ladyzhenskaya Biography
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Olga Ladyzhenskaya Biography

Olga Aleksándrovna Ladýzhenskay (March 7, 1922 – January 12, 2004) Born in Kologriv, Russia. Russian mathematician recognized for her contributions concerning fluid differential and dynamic equations. Ladyzhenskaya was one of the most important thinkers of her generation; Throughout her career she wrote about 250 articles and 7 books, in which she focused on the study of partial derivative equations and other related topics. During the Stalin regime, Ladyzhenskaya and her family were considered enemies of the people, which is why they were humiliated and rejected, even denied entry to the University because of this.

Family and beginnings

Ladyzhenskaya was born into a family of low rural nobility. Her parents were math teacher Aleksandr Ladízhenski and housewife Anna Mikhailovna. She was the youngest of the couple’s three daughters and her grandfather was the renowned painter Gennadi Ladízhenski, from whom Ladyzhenskaya kept several paintings. She studied at home with her sisters, as Kologriv was away from cultural centers. In the 1930s, Olga’s father began to teach his daughters basic notions of mathematics and geometry, and then prove them with a theorem created by him.

In the classes, the youngest of the sisters managed to stand out, demonstrating skills that surpassed anyone their age. Over time, Ladyzhenskaya studied advanced mathematics and calculation, showing the level of an adult. Classes ended and Ladyzhenskaya’s life changed in 1937, the year in which her beloved father was captured by the Stalin regime. After Aleksandr Ladízhenski was arrested, she was declared an enemy of the people and sentenced to death.

The condemnation of her father led to the family being persecuted and humiliated, her sisters were expelled from school and the family faced serious economic problems. Ladyzhenskaya was allowed to finish her secondary studies, as she was an exceptional student, but she did not have the same fate when she wanted to enter Leningrad University. After being rejected by her last name, Ladyzhenskaya began working at the Teacher Training School and taught at the same school that her father worked.

Studies and Career

In 1943, she entered the University of Moscow thanks to the influence of one of the mothers of her students. In the university she studied algebra, number theory and partial derivative equations, in the latter she specialized a short time later. Although she faced serious economic difficulties, she managed to stay with the help of a scholarship and the ration card. She attended numerous advanced seminars and completed compulsory subjects quickly, which allowed her to attend advanced classes and continue studying differential equations.

Before finishing her studies she organized a seminar on differential equations for young people, to which she invited prominent mathematicians from Moscow. Ladyzhenskaya graduated in 1947 and received a doctorate two years later, with a thesis on partial derivative equations. This revolutionary study could only be published years later, after Stalin’s death in 1953. At the end of her studies she married the mathematician Kiselev of St. Petersburg, a city in which she began to participate in the Mathematical Physics seminar. While participating in the event, Ladyzhenskaya related to various mathematicians studying differential equations.

In 1953, her doctoral thesis and her first book Mixed Problems for a Hyperbolic Equation (1953) was published. The following year she became a professor at St. Petersburg State University and a researcher at the Steklov Mathematics Institute, which she later directed until 1991. In the 1960s, Ladyzhenskaya made great advances in the field of differential, parabolic, partial equations and hyperbolic linear and quasilinear. Starting this decade she made a great contribution to the field of nonlinear problems of mathematical physics with his book, The mathematical theory of viscous incompressible flow (1961).

During her life in St. Petersburg, Ladyzhenskaya was an active member of the city’s intellectual community. In the years she was a member of the municipal council of popular deputies, Ladyzhenskaya, helped academics and their families so they could stay at no cost in the city. Throughout her career she published about two hundred and fifty articles and seven books. She also received various honors, such as her election as a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and some awards such as the Ioffe Medal, the Lomonosov Gold Medal and the Medal of the University of St. Petersburg.

Ladyzhenskaya died at the age of eighty-one in St. Petersburg on January 12, 2004, two months before turning 82. On March 7, 2019, Google paid tribute to the outstanding thinker and mathematician through her animated doodle, in which she is accompanied by her contributions.

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