Viktor Bunyakovsky

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Viktor Yakovych Bunyakovsky
Viktor Bunyakovsky in 1888
Born December 16 [O.S. December 4] 1804
Died December 12 [O.S. November 30] 1889
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Citizenship Russian
Nationality Ukrainian
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Petersburg Academy of Sciences
Doctoral advisor Augustin Cauchy
Known for theoretical mechanics, number theory

Viktor Yakovych Bunyakovsky (Ukrainian: Віктор Я́кович Буняко́вский; December 16 [O.S. December 4] 1804, Bar, Russian Empire – December 12 [O.S. November 30] 1889, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Ukrainian mathematician, member and later vice president of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

He worked in theoretical mechanics and number theory (see: Bunyakovsky conjecture), and is credited with an early discovery of the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality, proving it for the infinite dimensional case in 1859, many years prior to Hermann Schwarz's works on the subject.


Bunyakovsky received his initial mathematical education at the home of his father's friend, Count Alexander Tormasov in St. Petersburg. In 1820, he joined the count's son in traveling to a university in Coburg and subsequently to the Sorbonne in Paris to study mathematics. At the Sorbonne, Bunyakovsky had the opportunity to take lectures from Laplace, Poussin, and Fourier, among others. He spent the most significant time studying with Cauchy.

In 1824, Bunyakovsky received his bachelor's degree. A year later, he successfully completed his dissertation on theoretical mechanics and mathematical physics, and received his doctorate. He returned to St. Petersburg in 1826 and took up teaching, which he pursued for much of his life.

In addition to teaching university courses in analytical mathematics, differential equations, and probability theory, Bunyakovsky was also active in preparing syllabi and teaching manuals for Russian schools and military academies. He became a member of the precursor organization to the Russian Academy of Sciences, rising to the post of Vice President by 1864.

Alongside his teaching responsibilities, Bunyakovsky made significant contributions in the areas of number theory and probability theory, publishing more than 100 papers.


  • Bounjakowsky W., «Mémoires de l’Académie des sciences de St-Pétersbourg. 7 série», 1859, t. 1, № 9.

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