Olga Ladyzhenskaya (March 7, 1922 – January 12, 2004) was born in Kologriva, Russia. The Russian mathematician valued her contribution in the field of differential equations and fluid dynamics. Ladyzhenskaja was one of the most important thinkers of her generation; during her career she wrote about 250 articles and 7 books focusing on the study of private derivative equations and other related topics. Under the Stalinist regime, Ladyshenskaya and her family were considered enemies of the people, so they were humiliated and rejected, even for this reason they were not admitted to university.
Family and beginning
Ladyzhenskaja was born into a family of small landed estates. His parents were mathematics teacher Alexander Ladizhensky and housewife Anna Mikhailovna. She was the youngest of the couple’s three daughters and her grandfather was the famous painter Gennady Ladizhenskaya, who kept several paintings. She studied at home with her sisters because Kologriv was far away from the cultural centres. In the 1930s Olga’s father began teaching his daughters the basic concepts of mathematics and geometry and then proving them with the theorem he had created.
In class, the younger sisters managed to distinguish themselves by showing abilities superior to those of all their classmates. Over time, Ladyzhenskaja has studied advanced mathematics and calculations that show the level of an adult. Classes came to an end and Ladyzhenska’s life changed in 1937, the year her beloved father was captured by the Stalinist regime. After the arrest of Alexander Ladizhensky, she was declared an enemy of the people and sentenced to death.
Her father’s conviction led to intimidation and humiliation of the family, her sisters were expelled from school and the family faced serious economic problems. Ladyshenskaja was allowed to graduate from high school because she was an exceptional student, but she did not suffer the same fate when she wanted to go to the University of Leningrad. After Ladyshenskaja was rejected by her last name, she went to work at the pedagogical school and taught at the same school where her father worked.
Research and career
In 1943 she went to the University of Moscow thanks to the influence of the mother of one of her students. At university, she studied algebra, number theory and privately derived equations, the last of which was her specialty a little later. Although she was facing serious economic problems, she was able to stay put thanks to a scholarship and a food ration card. She participated in numerous advanced seminars and quickly completed the required subjects, giving her the opportunity to take advanced courses and continue her studies on differential equations.
For her graduation she organized a seminar on differential equations for young people, to which she invited famous mathematicians from Moscow. Ladyzhenskaja graduated from university in 1947 and two years later obtained her doctorate with a dissertation on partial differential equations. This revolutionary study could only be published years after Stalin’s death in 1953. After graduation she married the mathematician Kiselev from St. Petersburg, where she started a seminar on mathematical physics. During her participation in the event Ladyzhenskaja was in contact with several mathematicians working on differential equations.
In 1953 he published his dissertation and the first book entitled Mixed Problems for the Hyperbolic Equation. The following year she became professor at St. Petersburg State University and researcher at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics, which she led until 1991. In the sixties Ladyzhenskaja achieved great success in the field of differential, parabolic, partial and hyperbolic linear and quasi-linear equations. Since that decade, she has made an important contribution to the field of non-linear problems in mathematical physics with her book Mathematical Theory of Viscous Incompressible Flow (1961).
During his life in St. Petersburg, Ladyzhenskaja was an active member of the city’s intellectual community. In these years she was a member of the City Council of Representatives, Ladyzhenskaja, and helped scientists and their families to stay in the city for free. In the course of her career she has published about two hundred and fifty articles and seven books. She has also received several awards, including the Ioffe Medal, the Lomonosov Gold Medal and the St. Petersburg University Medal.
Ladyzhenskaya died at the age of 81 in St. Petersburg on January 12, 2004, two months before her 82nd birthday. On the 7th. In March 2019, Google honored an excellent thinker and mathematician with its animated scribbles.