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Mikhail Alekseevich Lavrentev

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19 Nov 1900

Kazan, Russia

15 Oct 1980

Moscow, Russia

Mikhail Lavrentev studied at the University of Moscow, graduating in 1922. His doctorate was awarded by Moscow University in 1933. From 1933 he held the chair of Analysis and Theory of Functions at Moscow State University.

In 1934 the Steklov Mathematical Institute, together with some other institutions of the USSR Academy of Sciences , was moved from Leningrad to Moscow. Lavrentev headed the Department of the Theory of Functions of a Complex Variable at the Steklov Mathematical Institute.

From 1939 to 1941 and then again from 1944 to 1949, Lavrentev was the Director of the Institute of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine in Kiev. In 1945 he was also appointed vice-president of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine. Then, in 1950, he became director of the Institute of Mechanics and Computational Technology of the Ukraine.

Lavrentev moved to Novosibirsk when he was vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences between 1957 snd 1975. During this time he was Head of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Then, in 1975, Lavrentev returned to Moscow where he worked at the Institute of Physics and Technology until his death.

Lavrentev is remembered for an outstanding book on conformal mappings and he made many important contributions to that topic. In the 1940s he developed the theory of quasi-conformal mappings which gave a new geometrical approach to partial differential equations . One of the major areas to which he applied this work was to hydrodynamics.

The 1940s was a period of industrialisation and construction and, after 1945, Lavrentev founded new areas of research in mechanics and applied physics which were aimed at laying the theoretical foundation necessary for the large contruction projects of building dams, canals and bridges on the Volga, Dnieper and Don rivers.

He also applied the theory of complex variables to other topics, in particular to non-linear waves. Other topics where he made substantial contributions where the theory of sets, the general theory of functions, and the theory of differential equations .

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland