The Lobachevsky Prize was established in 1896 by the Kazan Physical and Mathematical Society, in honor of the famous Russian mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, who had been a professor at Kazan University and spent almost all of his mathematical life there. The prize was first awarded in 1897. Between the October revolution of 1917 and World War II the Lobachevsky Prize was awarded only twice, by the Kazan State University, in 1927 and 1937. In 1947, by a decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the jurisdiction over awarding the Lobachevsky Prize was transferred to the USSR Academy of Sciences. The 1947 decree specified that there be two prizes, awarded every five years: the main, international, Lobachevsky Prize, for which both Soviet and foreign scientists would be eligible, and an honorable mention prize, for Soviet mathematicians only. In a 2003 article, B. N. Shapukov, a professor at the Kazan State University, writes that the 1947 decree also specified that awarding of the prize by the USSR Academy of Sciences should be done in consultation with the Kazan State University, but that this condition was not subsequently followed in practice.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, the Russian Academy of Sciences became the legatee of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The Russian Academy of Sciences continued awarding the Lobachevsky Prize, awarding it in 1992, 1996 and 2000. As of January 2010, the Lobachevsky Prize is listed among its awards at the Russian Academy of Sciences website.
In 1990-1991, while preparing the 1992 celebration of Lobachevsky's 200th anniversary, the Kazan State University organizers of this celebration lobbied the Soviet government to establish a special Kazan State University award in honor of Lobachevsky. A June 1991 decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR established the Lobachevsky Medal, for outstanding contributions to geometry, to be awarded by the Kazan State University. The Lobachevsky Medal was awarded by the university in 1992, 1997 and 2002. The article of Shapukov mentions that during the 1997 competition for the Lobachevsky Medal, the Mathematics section of the Russian Academy of Sciences complained about the fact and the process of awarding the Medal. The Kazan State University website for the Lobachevsky Medal contains a list of recipients of the Lobachesky Prize from 1897 to 1989, which excludes the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Russian Academy of Sciences awards. The Russian Academy of Sciences website for the Lobachevsky Prize contains a list of recipients of the prize from 1897 to 2000 and does not mention Kazan State University's Lobachevsky Medal.
Lobachevsky Prize winners
Kazan Physical and Mathematical Society/Kazan University
- Sophus Lie, 1897
- Wilhelm Killing, 1900
- David Hilbert, 1903
- Ludwig Schlesinger, 1909 (awarded in 1912)
- Friedrich Schur, 1912
- Hermann Weyl, 1927
- Élie Cartan, 1937 (main, international, prize)
- Viktor V. Wagner, 1937 (special prize for young Soviet mathematicians)
In 1906, Beppo Levi received an honorable mention. The prize itself was not awarded.
Soviet Academy of Sciences
- Nikolai Efimov, 1951
- Aleksandr D. Alexandrov, 1951
- Aleksei Pogorelov, 1959
- Lev Pontryagin, 1966
- Heinz Hopf, 1969
- Pavel Alexandrov, 1972
- Boris Delaunay, 1977
- Sergei Novikov, 1980
- Herbert Busemann, 1983
- Andrey Kolmogorov, 1986
- Friedrich Hirzebruch, 1989
Russian Academy of Sciences
Lobachevsky Medal winners
Kazan State University
In 1997, Valery N. Berestovsky (Russia), Idjad Kh. Sabitov (Russia) and Boris Rosenfeld (USA) received an honorable mention.
- Bukhshtaber, V. M.; Novikov, S. P. (1998). "History of the Lobachevskii Prize (on the centenary of the ﬁrst awarding in 1897)". Uspekhi Matematicheskikh Nauk (in Russian). 53 (1): 235–238.
- B. N. Shapukov, “On history of Lobachevskii Medal and Lobachevskii Prize” (in Russian), Tr. Geom. Semin., 24, Kazan Mathematical Society, Kazan, 2003, 11–16
- Lobachevsky Prize, Russian Academy of Sciences. Accessed January 4, 2010
- The Lobachevsky Medal, Kazan State University. Accessed January 3, 2010
- V. V. Vishnevsky, (in Russian), The 200th anniversary of N. I. Lobachevsky, its outcomes and lessons. Tr. Geom. Semin., 23, Kazan Mathematical Society, Kazan, 1997, 23-32