Vladimir Mazya

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Vladimir Maz'ya
Born (1937-12-31) December 31, 1937 (age 77)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR
Citizenship Sweden
Institutions Leningrad University
Linköping University
Ohio State University
University of Liverpool
Alma mater Leningrad University
Doctoral students See the teaching activity section
Known for Approximate approximations
Asymptotic analysis
Partial differential equations
Sobolev spaces
Theory of ship waves
Notable awards Humboldt Prize (1999)
Verdaguer Prize (2003)
Celsius Gold Medal (2005)
Senior Whitehead Prize (2009)
Spouse Tatyana O. Shaposhnikova
Vladimir Maz'ya academic web site

Vladimir Gilelevich Maz'ya (Russian: Владимир Гилелевич Мазья; born December 31, 1937)[1][2][3] (the family name is sometimes transliterated as Mazya, Maz'ja or Mazja) is a leading Russian Swedish mathematician. He systematically made fundamental contributions to a wide array of areas in mathematical analysis and in the theory of partial differential equations. His early achievements include: his work on Sobolev spaces, in particular the discovery of the equivalence between Sobolev and isoperimetric/isocapacitary inequalities (1960), his counterexamples related to Hilbert's 19th and Hilbert's 20th problem (1968), his solution to V. Arnol'd's problem for the oblique derivative boundary value problem (1970) and to F. John's problem on the oscillations of a fluid in the presence of an immersed body (1977). In recent years, he proved a Wiener's type criterion for higher order elliptic equations, achieved a series of definitive results in the spectral theory of the Schrödinger operator, found necessary and sufficient conditions for the validity of maximum principles for elliptic and parabolic systems of PDEs and introduced the so–called approximate approximations. He also substantially contributed to the development of the theory of capacities, nonlinear potential theory, the asymptotic and qualitative theory of arbitrary order elliptic equations, the theory of ill-posed problems, the theory of boundary value problems in domains with piecewise smooth boundary.


Life and academic career[edit]

Vladimir Maz'ya was born on 31 December 1937[2] in a Jewish family.[4] His father died on December 1941 at the World War II front,[2][4][5] and all his four grandparents died during the siege of Leningrad.[2][4] His mother, a state accountant,[6] chose to not remarry and dedicated her life to him:[4] they lived on her meager salary in a 9 square meters room in a big communal apartment, shared with other four families.[4][7] As a secondary school student, he repeatedly won the city's mathematics and physics olympiads[8] and graduated with a gold medal.[9]

In 1955, at the age of 18, Maz'ya entered the Mathematics and Mechanics Department of Leningrad University.[10] Taking part to the traditional mathematical olympiad of the faculty, he solved the problems for both first year and second year students and, since he did not make this a secret, the other participants did not submit their solutions causing the invalidation of the contest by the jury which therefore did not award the prize.[5] However, he attracted the attention of Solomon Mikhlin who invited him at his home, thus starting their lifelong friendship:[5] and this friendship had a great influence on him, helping him develop his mathematical style more than anyone else. According to Gohberg (1999, p. 2),[11] in the years to come, "Maz'ya was never a formal student of Mikhlin, but Mikhlin was more than a teacher for him. Maz’ya had found the topics of his dissertations by himself, while Mikhlin taught him mathematical ethics and rules of writing, referring and reviewing".[12]

More details on the life of Vladimir Maz'ya, from his birth to the year 1968, can be found in his autobiography (Maz'ya 2014).

Maz'ya graduated from Leningrad University in 1960.[1][13] The same year he gave two talks at Smirnov's seminar:[14] their contents were published as a short report in the Proceedings of the USSR Academy of Sciences[15][16] and later evolved in his "kandidat nauk" thesis, "Classes of sets and embedding theorems for function spaces",[17] which was defended in 1962.[18] In 1965 he earned the Doktor nauk degree in 1965, again from Leningrad University, defending the dissertation "Dirichlet and Neumann problems in Domains with irregular boundaries", when he was only 27.[19] Neither the first nor his second thesis were written under the guidance of an advisor: Vladimir Maz'ya never had a formal scientific adviser, choosing the research problems he worked to by himself.[20]

From 1960 up to 1986, he worked as a "research fellow"[21] at the Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics of Leningrad University (RIMM), being promoted from junior to senior research fellow in 1965.[22] From 1968 to 1978 he taught at the Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute, where he was awarded the title of "professor" in 1976.[23] From 1986 to 1990 he worked to the Leningrad Section of the Blagonravov Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the USSR Academy of Sciences,[24] where he created and directed the Laboratory of Mathematical Models in Mechanics and the Consulting Center in Mathematics for Engineers.[25]

In 1978 he married Tatyana Shaposhnikova, a former doctoral student of Solomon Mikhlin, and they have a son, Michael:[26] In 1990, they left the URSS for Sweden, where Prof. Maz'ya obtained the Swedish citizenship and started to work at Linköping University.[27]

Currently, he is honorary Senior Fellow of Liverpool University and Professor Emeritus at Linköping University: he is also member of the editorial board of several mathematical journals.[28]


In 1962 Maz'ya was awarded the "Young Mathematician" prize by the Leningrad Mathematical Society, for his results on Sobolev spaces:[17] he was the first winner of the prize.[15] In 1990 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Rostock University.[29] In 1999, Maz'ya received the Humboldt Prize.[29][30] He was elected member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000,[31] and of the Swedish Academy of Science in 2002.[29] On 31 August 2003 he was awarded the Celsius Gold Medal, the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala's top award, "for his outstanding research on partial differential equations and hydrodynamics".[32] He was awarded the Senior Whitehead Prize by the London Mathematical Society on the 20th of November 2009.[33] In 2012 he was elected fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[34] On October 30, 2013 he was elected foreign member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences.[35]

Starting from 1993, several conferences have been held to honor him: the first one, held in that year at the University of Kyoto, was a conference on Sobolev spaces.[36] On the occasion of his 60th birthday in 1998, two international conferences were held in his honor: the one at the University of Rostock was on Sobolev spaces,[36][37] while the other, at the École Polytechnique in Paris,[36][38] was on the boundary element method. He was invited speaker at the International Mathematical Congress held in Beijing in 2002:[29] his talk is an exposition on his work on Wiener–type criteria for higher order elliptic equations. Other two conferences were held on the occasion of his 70th birthday: "Analysis, PDEs and Applications on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Vladimir Maz'ya" was held in Rome,[39] while the "Nordic – Russian Symposium in honour of Vladimir Maz'ya on the occasion of his 70th birthday" was held in Stockholm.[40] On the same occasion, also a volume of the Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics was dedicated to him.[41]


Research activity[edit]

Because of Maz’ya’s ability to give complete solutions to problems which are generally considered as unsolvable, Fichera once compared Maz’ya with Santa Rita, the 14th century Italian nun who is the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.

Maz'ya authored/coauthored about 500 publications, including more than 20 research monographs: surveys of his work can be found, for example, in the book (Rossmann, Takáč & Wildenhain 1999a) and in the paper by Dorina and Marius Mitrea (2008).

Teaching activity[edit]

The information on Vladimir Maz'ya's teaching work is mainly taken from his 1999 Curriculum vitae,[42] published as (Rossmann, Takáč & Wildenhain 1999, p. 333), from the biographical informations contained in several papers of the book (Rossmann, Takáč & Wildenhain 1999a) and from the available student dissertations.[43] Based on this information, a partial list of his doctoral students is reported below:

  • Jan Åslund
  • George (Bastay) Baravdish
  • Jana Björn
  • Stefan Eilertsen
  • Nikolai V. Grachev
  • Aben Aleksandrovich Khvoles
  • Nikolai Germanovich Kuznetsov
  • Tjavdar Ivanov
  • Michael Langer

Selected books[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b See (Fomin & Shilov 1970, p. 824).
  2. ^ a b c d See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland 1999, p. 3) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. vii).
  3. ^ See also (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287).
  4. ^ a b c d e See (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 1).
  5. ^ a b c See (Gohberg 1999, p. 2).
  6. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. vii).
  7. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. viii).
  8. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland 1999, p. 3) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. viii).
  9. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. viii).
  10. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland (1999, p. 3) and (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2).
  11. ^ Also reported by Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii).
  12. ^ See also short accounts of their friendship in (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland 1999, p. 3) and (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2).
  13. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. viii).
  14. ^ According to Agranovich et al. (2008, p. 189): Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii) are less precise, simply referring of "talks" he gave, while Anolik et al. (2008, p. 287) cite only a single talk.
  15. ^ a b See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189).
  16. ^ See the books (Maz'ja 1986) and (Maz'ya 2011) for a complete analysis of his results.
  17. ^ a b See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. viii): Agranovich et al. (2008, p. 189) refer that "In their reviews, the opponents and the external reviewer noted that the level of the work far exceeded the requirements of the Higher Certification Commission for Ph.D. theses, and his work was recognized as outstanding at the thesis defence in the Academic Council of Moscow State University".
  18. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 189), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii).
  19. ^ According to (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland (1999, p. 3),(Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii): Fomin & Shilov (1970, p. 824) give a different version, stating that he earned the "Doctor nauk" degree in 1967.
  20. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, pp. 189–190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Gohberg 1999, p. 2) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii).
  21. ^ In Russian: научный сотрудник: see (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii).
  22. ^ Precisely, he become "старший научный сотрудник", abbreviated as "ст. науч. сотр.", according to Fomin & Shilov (1970, p. 824), the only source giving a precise date for his advancement.
  23. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. viii): a different version is reported by Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland (1999, p. 3), whom state that he become professor of Applied Mathematics in 1971 but do not give any other detail about his teaching activity.
  24. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287) and Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, pp. viii–ix).
  25. ^ According to (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239): (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190) states precisely that he was one of the chairmen, while (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287) does not precise his role in the seminar.
  26. ^ The only source briefly mentioning the composition of is household is (Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland 1999, p. 3).
  27. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287), (Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland 1999, p. 3), (Eidus et al. 1997, p. 2) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, pp. viii–ix).
  28. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190) and (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287).
  29. ^ a b c d See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, pp. ix).
  30. ^ See (O'Connor & Robertson 2009).
  31. ^ See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190), (Anolik et al. 2008, p. 287) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, pp. ix), and also the list of RSE members.
  32. ^ Sundelof (2003, p. 33) precisely states:-"Celsiusmedaljen i guld, Societetens främsta utmärkelse, har tilldelats professor Vladimir Maz'ya, Linköping, för hans framstående forskning rörande partiella differentialkvationer och hydrodynamik". See also the brief announce (AMS 2005, p. 549).
  33. ^ See (Chillingworth 2010) and also the brief announce (AMS 2010, p. 1120).
  34. ^ See the list of AMS fellows.
  35. ^ See his membership diploma, available from the Georgian National Academy web site.
  36. ^ a b c See (Agranovich et al. 2003, p. 239), (Agranovich et al. 2008, p. 190) and (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008, p. ix).
  37. ^ The conference proceedings are published in two books, The Maz'ya Anniversary Collection: Volume 1 (1999) and The Maz'ya Anniversary Collection: Volume 2 (1999).
  38. ^ See also Bonnet, Sändig & Wendland (1999, p. 3). The whole conference proceedings are published in the book (Mathematical Aspects of Boundary Element Methods 1999).
  39. ^ See Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. ix) and also the conference web site (2008). The proceedings were published under the editorship of Cialdea, Lanzara & Ricci (2009).
  40. ^ See Mitrea & Mitrea (2008, p. ix) and also the conference web site (2008).
  41. ^ See (Mitrea & Mitrea 2008a).
  42. ^ And also from the curriculum vitae available from his home page (retrieved February 2014).
  43. ^ See for example (Khvoles 1975, p.2 of frontmatter), (Kuznetsov & Vainberg 1999, p. 17) and (Elschner 1999, p. 46).


Biographical references[edit]

Scientific references[edit]

External links[edit]