Aleksandr Lyapunov

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Aleksandr Mikhailovich Lyapunov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Миха́йлович Ляпуно́в; June 6 [O.S. May 25] 1857 – November 3, 1918) was a Russian mathematician, mechanician and physicist. His surname is sometimes romanized as Ljapunov, Liapunov or Ljapunow.

Lyapunov is known for his development of the stability theory of a dynamical system, as well as for his many contributions to mathematical physics and probability theory.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Lyapunov was born in Yaroslavl, Russian Empire. His father Mikhail Vasilyevich Lyapunov (1820–1868) was an astronomer and a head of the Demidovski lyceum. In 1863, M. V. Lyapunov retired from his scientific career and relocated his family to his wife's estate at Bolobonov, in the Simbirsk province (now Ulyanovsk Oblast). After the death of his father in 1868, Aleksandr Lyapunov was educated by his uncle R. M. Sechenov, brother of the famous physiologist Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov. At his uncle's family, Lyapunov studied with his distant cousin Natalia Rafailovna, who became his wife in 1886. In 1870, his mother moved with her sons to Nizhny Novgorod, where he started the third class of the gymnasium. He graduated from the gymnasium with distinction in 1876.[1]

Education

In 1876 Lyapunov entered the Physico-Mathematical faculty of the University of Saint Petersburg, but after one month he transferred to the Mathematics department of the university.

Among the Saint Petersburg professors of mathematics were Chebyshev and his students Aleksandr Nikolaevich Korkin and Yegor Ivanovich Zolotarev. Lyapunov wrote his first independent scientific works under the guidance of the professor of mechanics, D. K. Bobylev. In 1880 Lyapunov received a gold medal for a work on hydrostatics. This was the basis for his first published scientific works On the equilibrium of a heavy body in a heavy fluid contained in a vessel of a fixed form and On the potential of hydrostatic pressure. Lyapunov completed his university course in 1880, two years after Andrey Markov who had also graduated at Saint Petersburg University. Lyapunov would maintain a scientific contact with Markov during all his life.

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