Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya (Russian: Óльга Алекса́ндровна Лады́женская; 7 March 1922 – 12 January 2004) was a Russian mathematician who worked on partial differential equations, fluid dynamics, and the finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations. She received the Lomonosov Gold Medal in 2002. She is the author of more than two hundred scientific works, among which are six monographs.
Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya
7 March 1922
|Died||12 January 2004 (aged 81)|
|Alma mater||Moscow University|
|Known for||Finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations|
Hilbert's nineteenth problem
|Awards||Lomonosov Gold Medal (2002)|
John von Neumann Prize (1998)
Noether Lecture (1994)
Kovalevskaya Prize (1992)
USSR State Prize (1969)
|Fields||Partial differential equations|
|Institutions||Saint Petersburg University|
|Doctoral advisor||Ivan Petrovsky|
|Notable students||Nina Uraltseva|
Ladyzhenskaya was born and grew up in the small town of Kologriv, the daughter of a mathematics teacher who is credited with her early inspiration and love of mathematics. The artist Gennady Ladyzhensky was her grandfather's brother, also born in this town. In 1937 her father, Aleksandr Ivanovich Ladýzhenski, was arrested by the NKVD and executed as an "enemy of the people".
Ladyzhenskaya completed high school in 1939, unlike her older sisters who weren't permitted to do the same. She was not admitted to the Leningrad State University due to her father's status and attended a pedagogical institute. After the German invasion of June 1941, she taught school in Kologriv. She was eventually admitted to Moscow State University in 1943 and graduated in 1947.
She began teaching in the Physics department of the university in 1950 and defended her PhD there, in 1951, under Sergei Sobolev and Vladimir Smirnov. She received a second doctorate from the Moscow State University in 1953. In 1954, she joined the mathematical physics laboratory of the Steklov Institute and became its head in 1961.
Ladyzhenskaya had a love of arts and storytelling, counting writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and poet Anna Akhmatova among her friends. Like Solzhenitsyn she was religious. She was once a member of the city council, and engaged in philanthropic activities, repeatedly risking her personal safety and career to aid people opposed to the Soviet regime. Ladyzhenskaya suffered from various eye problems in her later years and relied on special pencils to do her work.
Two days before a trip to Florida, she passed away in her sleep in Russia on 12 January 2004.
Ladyzhenskaya is known for her work on partial differential equations (especially Hilbert's nineteenth problem) and fluid dynamics. She provided the first rigorous proofs of the convergence of a finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations.
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