Viktor Bunyakovsky

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

Viktor Yakovlevich Bunyakovsky (Russian: Ви́ктор Я́ковлевич Буняко́вский; 16 December [O.S. 4 December] 1804, Bar, Russian Empire – 12 December [O.S. 30 November] 1889, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Russian 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.


Viktor Yakovlevich Bunyakovsky, noted as an eminent mathematician of the 19th century, was born in Bar, Russian Empire in 1804. Viktor Ya. Bunyakovsky was a son of Colonel Yakov Vasilievich Bunyakovsky.[1]

Bunyakovsky obtained 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 in France to study mathematics. At the Sorbonne, Bunyakovsky had the opportunity to attend lectures from Laplace, Poussin, and Fourier, among others. He spent the most time studying and doing research in mathematics and physics with Cauchy.[2]

In 1824, Bunyakovsky received his bachelor's degree from Sorbonne in Paris in France. He wrote three doctoral dissertations under Cauchy's supervision at Sorbonne in Paris in France as of Spring, 1825: 1) Rotary motion in a resistant medium of a set of plates of constant thickness and defined contour around an axis inclined with respect to the horizon; 2) The determination of the radius vector in elliptical motion of planets; 3) The propagation of heat in solids. He successfully completed his dissertation on theoretical mechanics and mathematical physics, and received his doctorate under Cauchy supervision at Sorbonne in Paris in France.[3]

Bunyakovsky returned to St. Petersburg in 1826 and took up teaching and research, which he pursued for much of his life. In addition to the university courses in analytical mathematics, differential equations, and probability theory, he was also active in preparing syllabi and teaching manuals for Russian schools and military academies. He lectured on mathematics and mechanics at the First Cadet Corps (later the Naval Academy) and at the Communications Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. From 1846 to 1880, he was a professor at St. Petersburg University in St. Petersburg, Russia.[4]

Alongside his teaching responsibilities, Bunyakovsky made significant scientific contributions in number theory and probability theory. His scientific interests included:[5] 1. Mathematical physics; 2. Condensed matter physics; 3. Mathematical analysis; 4. Number theory; 5. Theory of probability and its applications; 6. Differential equations; 7. Actuarial mathematics; 8. Mathematics education with the focus on the mathematical terminology. 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 research on the subject.

Bunyakovsky is an author of the book, titled: "Foundations of the mathematical theory of probability," which was published in 1846.[6] Bunyakovsky published around 150 research papers.[7]

Bunyakovsky became a member of the precursor organization to the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was named an adjunct in mathematics (1828), an extraordinary academician (1830), and an ordinary academician (1841). He was elected to the post of the Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences by 1864. He was a Vice-President of the St-Petersburg Academy of Sciences for 25 years (1864–1889). In 1875, the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences issued a medal and established a prize, bearing Bunyakovsky's name, for his outstanding mathematical research.

Bunyakovsky is well known as one of the founders of the St-Petersburg scientific school of thinking on number theory and probability theory.

The Bunyakovsky International Conference was conducted in the City of Kyiv in Ukraine in 2004, and a tour to the Bar, Ukraine was organized for all the conference participants.[8]

There is a street named after Bunyakovsky,[9] in Bar, Ukraine. Viktor O. Ledenyov a famous physicist[10][11][12] and an econophysicist[13][14][15] was born in a private house on the Bunyakovsky Street in Bar, Ukraine in 1971.


  • Bounjakowsky W., «Mémoires de l’Académie des sciences de St-Pétersbourg. 7 série», vol. 1, № 9, 1859.
  • «Description of the Celebration of the Doctoral Jubilee of the Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences, Academician Bunyakovsky. 19 May 1875», St. Petersburg, Russia, 1876.
  • Andreev K. A., «V. Y. Bunyakovsky», Kharkov, Ukraine, 1890.
  • Dickson L. E., «History of the Theory of Numbers», 3 vols, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 1919 – 1923.
  • Prudnikov V. E., «On Essays by P. L. Chebyshev, M. V. Ostrogradskii, V. Ya. Bunyakovskii, and I. I. Somov» in the 'Encyclopaedic dictionary,' compiled by Russian scholars and literati, (in Russian), Istor.-Mat. Issled. 6, pp. 223–237, 1953.
  • Prudnikov V. E., «V. Y. Bunyakovsky, Scientist and Teacher», Moscow, Russia, 1954.
  • Otradnyh F. P., «V. Ya. Bunyakovskii – Professor in the Petersburg University», (in Russian), Vestnik Leningrad University, 10(5) pp. 49–54, 1955.
  • Melnikov I. G., «Bunyakovsky’s Works on Number Theory», in Research Works of Institute of History of Natural Sciences and Technology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 17, pp. 270–286, 1957.
  • Youschkevitch A. P., «History of Mathematics in Russia Before 1917», pp. 296–302, Moscow, Russia, 1968.
  • Ermolaeva N. S., «V Ya Bunyakovskii's Doctoral Dissertation», (in Russian), History of Mathematics Research, 29, pp. 241 – 255, 348, 1985.
  • Kirsanov V. S., «V Ya Bunyakovskii's Dissertation and Cauchy's Theory of Residues», (in Russian), History of Mathematics Research, 28, pp. 261–266, 350, 1985.
  • Sheynin O. V., «On V. Ya. Buniakovsky's Work in the Theory of Probability», Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 12, XII, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp. 199–223, 1991.
  • Schreiber P, «The Cauchy–Bunyakovsky–Schwarz Inequality», in Hermann Grassmann, Lieschow, pp. 64–70, 1994, (Greifswald, 1995).
  • Yu F. Zhang, F. X. Bao and X. L. Fu, «The Origin and Development of the Cauchy–Bunyakovskii Inequality», (in Chinese), Qufu Shifan Daxue Xuebao Ziran Kexue Ban 21 (1), pp. 83–86, 1995.
  • «The Bunyakovsky International Conference», Institute of Mathematics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine, National Technical University of Ukraine "KPI", Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Mykhailo Dragomanov National Pedagogical University, Vinnytsya National Technical University, Ukrainian Mathematical Society, Kyiv; Bar, Vinnytsia Region, Ukraine, 16–21 August 2004.
  • Grigorian A. T., «Biography: Bunyakovsky Viktor Yakovlevich», in Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York, U.S.A., 2008,, 20 July 2014.

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