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Nikolay Ivanovich lobachevsky




Born: 1 Dec 1792 in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia

Died: 24 Feb 1856 in Kazan, Russia

Nikolay I. Lobachevsky was born in 1792 in Nizhniy Novgorod. When he was nine years old, the family moved to Kazan. There Nikolay entered gymnasia and began to study at public expense. In 1807 the 14-year-old Nikolay Lobachevsky became a student of the Kazan University, which had been founded two years earlier. His original intention was to study medicine but he changed to study a broad scientific course involving mathematics and physics. The dean of the University was sure that Lobachevsky wouldnt be unknown in future.

Lobachevskys career was swift and successful. Lobachevsky received a Master's Degree in physics and mathematics in 1811. In 1814 he was confirmed as an adjunct (assistant professor) and in two years, at the age of 23, was elected an extraordinary professor (associate professor). In 1822 Lobachevsky became an ordinary professor of the university.

The list of disciplines, he lectured during the first 10-12 years of his pedagogical activity, enumerates more than a dozen subjects. It includes Gauss Theory of Numbers, Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, Analytical and Descriptive Geometry, Astronomy, Differential and Integral Calculus (Physics, Statics and Dynamics and so on). He was a very diligent lecturer.

Since 1817 he had been working on one of the most difficult problems, the proof for the fifth Euclid postulate on parallel straight lines. Lobachevsky considered the task to be of special importance. At first Lobachevsky behaved as many other mathematicians, namely seeking for the rule of contraries. Thus, he deduced a lot of statements, some of them were, kindly speaking, rather strange, but the contradiction wasnt found. In 1823 he came to conclusion that the fifth postulate can not be proved and one could speak of new geometry. More over, Lobachevsky understood that this imaginary geometry couldnt be disproved by our experience in principle despite its unusual content.

In February 1826 Lobachevsky wrote the first work on the new geometry and suggested it to a few university professors. His colleagues didnt response, and soon the work was lost.

In 1829 the Kazansky Vestnik magazine published Lobachevskys article, devoted to the non-Euclidean geometry. Genius always goes ahead of its time. The works, which prove that Lobachevskys geometry is as rightful as the non-Euclidean one, and the discovery of it is an important step towards the understanding of the surrounding world, came to light in 30-40 years. But in the 1820th Lobachevsky found himself in a very difficult situation. He was not understood and even blamed by the best mathematicians of that time; colleagues mocked him, writing offensive reviews to his work. It was a severe trial for the scientists character. Lobachevsky stood the test with credit. New articles on the same subject followed the first work. That was the way he differed from Gauss, the other founder of the non-Euclidean geometry.

In 1842 Nikolay I. Lobachevsky was elected a correspondence member Gottingen Scientific Society (Academy of Sciences).

At the age of 25-30 Lobachevsky headed the observatory and was the dean of mathematics faculty. For many years he was the director of the university library. Lobachevsky used to go to Petersburg to choose and buy books himself. As the chairman of the construction committee he directed the construction of new university buildings.

In 1827 Lobachevsky was elected the rector of the Kazan University. Later on he was re-elected six times, heading the university for twenty years. As the rector he energetically and with competence devoted himself to different activities: lecturing and scientific work, finances and construction. The period of cholera epidemic of 1835 and the fire of 1842 mentioned above was the most difficult time for him.

Not long before his death, Nikolay Lobachevsky became blind. Being very weak, he dictated his last work Pangeomentry (the Greek prefix pan means all, universal), timed to the 50th jubilee of the Kazan University.

In 1828 on occasion of the first year of his rectors activity Lobachevsky made a speech titled The Most Important Subjects of Education, which became well-known later on. In particularly, he said: The examples teach us better, than explanations and books. The life of Nikolay Ivanovich Lobachevsky is a remarkable example of devotion to motherland and science.

Vocabulary:

adjunct professor - -

to confirm -

extraordinary professor

ordinary professor

diligent ,

to mock -

 





: 2016-10-06; : 521 | |


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