Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Mathematician Vladimir Arnold, Universal Scientist

Filed under: biography,intellectual,Russian,science,Soviet period — 01varvara @ 00.00

Academician Vladimir Arnold (1936- ), honoured scientist, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN)

The State Prize for 2007 was awarded in the Kremlin on 12 June, Russia Day. The laureates of the awards in Science and Technology were physicist Alexei Khokhlov, linguist Andrei Zaliznyak, and mathematician Vladimir Arnold. Vladimir Arnold was honoured for making great contributions to mathematical physics. He is considered one of the most brilliant universal-scientists in the world. He approaches mathematical problems as a natural scientist, and his results are used by chemists, physics, and biologists. His former student, Academician Viktor Vasilev, said that his works on dynamic systems theory, classical and celestial mechanics, singularity theory, topology, algebraic geometry, hydrodynamics, differential geometry, mathematical physics, the calculus of variations, and combinatorial theory have been recognised throughout the world.

“Vladimir Arnold engaged himself in practically all areas of mathematics. This is a distinguished feature of our mathematical school, where we consider it correct that people should have interest and knowledge of all areas. Many of the accomplishments of Vladimir Arnold are brilliant in his specific area of expertise, but, his knowledge of other areas helped him to this end, and, sometimes, he discovered unexpected linkages. The fact that he is keen on everything led to limited successes in some areas where there was no correct solution, whilst an analogue with another theory helped him to solve the specific question”, Professor Vasilev said.

Vladimir Arnold was awarded a doctorate when he was 28. He won his first award in 1965. He and his teacher and guide Andrei Kolmogorov were honoured with the Lenin Prize for their work on celestial mechanics. However, he became world famous when he was 20, after solving Hilbert’s thirteenth problem. “Vladimir Arnold solved the problem when he was studying in the second or third course of Moscow State University. David Hilbert put forth 26 unsolved problems in 1900, which are considered the main mathematical problems of the century. Arnold solved one of them. This is a great achievement”, Professor Vasilev said.

Currently, Academician Arnold is a member of many foreign academies, including the French Academy, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of the United States, the Royal Society of London, and he is an honorary doctor at several universities. The great scientist has been keen on sports since childhood. He is now 72, but, he starts seminars after a 50-kilometre bicycle cross. He is an alpinist and likes to swim in icy ponds in the winter. Professor Arnold insists that sports are essential for doing scientific work. This is advice that he could have given to his students.

9 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



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