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Seminar on the History of Mathematics
October 1, 2020 18:00, St. Peterburg

Brief history of the Elasticity department at Leningrad state university (St. Petersburg state university)

I. I. Demidova

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Abstract: In 1929, as a result of the division of the Department of Mechanics into three new departments, the Department of Elasticity was formed at Leningrad State University. Its first head was G.V. Kolosov (18671936). Since 1914, he taught a course in the theory of elasticity at the Department of Mechanics. To determine the stresses in structures, he proposed using the theory of functions of a complex variable. N.I. Muskhelishvili (18911976), founder and first president of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, continued this research. In 1931, Guriy Vasilievich Kolosov was elected Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1930, E.L. Nikolai (1880-1950) began to work at the department. In 1932 he became the head of the department and the head of the department of elasticity at the Research Institute of Leningrad State University. During the war years, the university was evacuated to Saratov. Professor S.G. Lekhnitskiy, Kolosov's disciple, specialist in the design of structures made of anisotropic materials, combined the post of the head of elasticity department there. Academician V.I. Smirnov (18871974) an outstanding mathematician, teacher, author of the fundamental monograph "A Course in Higher Mathematics" in five volumes, headed the department after the War. Some courses were taught by prof. S.G. Mikhlin (19081990) - mathematician, specialist in mathematical physics, elasticity theory and computational methods. That time he was engaged in applications of functional analysis and direct methods of mathematical physics to the theory of elasticity. In 1948 V.I. Smirnov invited G.I. Petrashen' (19142004) to give lectures at the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics on the dynamic theory of elastic wave propagation. In the period from 1951-1958, a laboratory for the dynamics of elastic media was created. The main scientific task of the laboratory was to compare the results of seismic observations with the conclusions from the theory of propagation of seismic waves. During this period, Georgy Ivanovich Petrashen' acquired many talented graduate students who later became academicians of the USSR Academy of Sciences: A.S. Alekseev (19282007), E.I. Shemyakin (19292009), and G.I. Marchuk (19252013), who was the President of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 19861991. In 19501952, rector of Leningrad State University and head of the department was the largest specialist in real problems of mechanics A.A. Ilyushin (19111998). He handed over the department to an outstanding Soviet shipbuilder, academician since 1966, prof. V.V. Novozhilov (19101987). From 1955 to 1976 the department was headed by a world-renowned scientist, an outstanding specialist in the field of the theory of plasticity, creep, theory of strength and fracture mechanics, prof. L.M. Kachanov (19141993). In 1976-1977, the department was again headed by V.V. Novozhilov. Mathematician and mechanic, academician N.F. Morozov (b. 1932), heads the department from 1977 to the present. Corresponding members RAS, prof. Yu.V. Petrov (b.1958) and D.A. Indejcev also work at the department. Yu.V. Petrov (b.1958) is a specialist in the dynamic theory of elasticity and plasticity. D.A. Indejcev is a scientist in the field of mechanics, he headed the Institute for Problems in Mechanical Engineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPME RAS) from 2004 to 2015. Until 2018, prof. R.A. Harutyunyan (19372018), worked at the department. He was a specialist in mechanics of materials and theory of plasticity, foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

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