Sergei Sobolev

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Sergei Lvovich Sobolev
Sobolev S L.jpeg
Sergei L. Sobolev in Nice in 1970
Born (1908-10-06)6 October 1908
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died 3 January 1989(1989-01-03) (aged 80)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Citizenship Russia
Fields Mathematics

Steklov Mathematical Institute, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Kurchatov Institute,

Sobolev Institute
Alma mater Leningrad State University, 1929
Doctoral advisor Nikolai Günther
Known for Sobolev space, generalized functions
Influenced Functional analysis, partial differential equations
Notable awards 1941, 1951, 1953 Stalin Prize, 1986 USSR State Prize, Hero of Socialist Labor 1951, Lomonosov Gold Medal 1988 (posthumously)

Sergei Lvovich Sobolev (Russian: Серге́й Льво́вич Со́болев; 6 October 1908 – 3 January 1989) was a Soviet mathematician working in mathematical analysis and partial differential equations. He was born in St. Petersburg, and died in Moscow.[1]


Sobolev introduced the notions that are now fundamental for several areas of mathematics. Sobolev spaces can be defined by some growth conditions on the Fourier transform. They and their embedding theorems are an important subject in functional analysis. Generalized functions (later known as distributions) were first introduced by Sobolev in 1935 for weak solutions, and further developed by Laurent Schwartz. Sobolev abstracted the classical notion of differentiation, so expanding the range of application of the technique of Newton and Leibniz. The theory of distributions is considered now as the calculus of the modern epoch.[2]


Sobolev graduated from Leningrad University in 1929, where he was a student of Nikolai Maksimovich Günter. After graduation he worked with Vladimir Smirnov, whom he considered as his second teacher. He worked in Leningrad from 1932, and at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow from 1934. He headed the institute in evacuation to Kazan during the World War II. He was a Moscow State University professor from 1935 to 1957 and also a deputy director of the Institute for Atomic Energy from 1943 to 1957 where he participated in the A-bomb project of the USSR.

In 1956 Sobolev joined a number of scientists in proposing a large-scale scientific and educational initiative for the Eastern parts of the Soviet Union, which resulted in the creation of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences. He was the founder and first director of the Institute of Mathematics at Akademgorodok near Novosibirsk, which was later to bear his name, and played an important role in the establishment and development of Novosibirsk State University.

In 1962 he called for a reform of the Soviet education system.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Connor, J J. "Sergei Lvovich Sobolev". 
  2. ^ e.g. Friedman, A. (1970). Foundations of modern analysis. Courier Corporation, p. iii
  3. ^ Berg A., (1964), 'Cybernetics and Education' in The Anglo-Soviet Journal, March 1964, pp. 13–20



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