Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin

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Vladimir Rokhlin in Leningrad, 1966.

Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin (Russian: Влади́мир Абра́мович Ро́хлин) (23 August 1919 – 3 December 1984) was an influential Soviet mathematician, who made numerous contributions in algebraic topology, geometry, measure theory, probability theory, ergodic theory and entropy theory.[1]

Life[edit]

Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, to a wealthy Russian Jewish family.[2] His mother, Henrietta Emmanuilovna Levenson, had studied medicine in France (she died in Baku in 1923, believed to have been killed during civil unrest provoked by an epidemic). His maternal grandmother, Clara Levenson, had been one of the first female doctors in Russia. His maternal grandfather Emmanuil Levenson was a wealthy businessman (he was also the illegitimate father of Korney Chukovsky, who was thus Henrietta's half-brother). Vladimir Rokhlin's father Abram Veniaminovich Rokhlin was a well-known social democrat (he was imprisoned during Stalin's Great Purge, and executed in 1941).[3]

Vladimir Rokhlin entered Moscow State University in 1935. His advisor was Abraham Plessner. He volunteered for the army in 1941, leading to four years as a prisoner of a German war camp, and then two years in a Soviet checking camp after the end of the war on suspicion of being a German or/and Western spy. Due to intercession by Kolmogorov and Pontryagin, he was released and then returned to mathematics.

Since 1959 he was at Leningrad State University, where he was a very influential teacher.

He died in 1984 in Leningrad. His students include Yakov Eliashberg, Mikhail Gromov, Anatoly Vershik and Oleg Viro.

Work[edit]

Rokhlin's contributions to topology include a result of 1952 on the signature of 4-manifolds, which was subsequently generalised by Hirzebruch. He also worked in the theory of characteristic classes, homotopy theory and cobordism theory.

In measure theory, Rokhlin introduced what is now called Rokhlin partitions. He introduced the notion of standard probability space, and characterised such spaces up to isomorphism mod 0.

Family[edit]

His son Vladimir Rokhlin, Jr. is a well-known mathematician and computer scientist at Yale.

Rokhlin's uncle was Korney Chukovsky, a well known Russian poet, most famous for his popular children's books.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]