Olga Ladyzhenskaya
Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya

(1922-03-07)7 March 1922
Died12 January 2004(2004-01-12) (aged 81)
Alma materMoscow University
Known forFinite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations
Hilbert's nineteenth problem
BPP condition
Ladyzhenskaya's inequality
AwardsLomonosov Gold Medal (2002)
John von Neumann Prize (1998)
Noether Lecture (1994)
Kovalevskaya Prize (1992)
USSR State Prize (1969)
Scientific career
FieldsPartial differential equations
InstitutionsSaint Petersburg University
Doctoral advisorIvan Petrovsky
Sergei Sobolev
Notable studentsNina Uraltseva
Ludvig Faddeev
Vladimir Buslaev

Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya (Russian: Óльга Алекса́ндровна Лады́женская; 7 March 1922 – 12 January 2004) was a Russian mathematician who worked on partial differential equations, fluid dynamics, and the finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations. She received the Lomonosov Gold Medal in 2002. She is the author of more than two hundred scientific works, among which are six monographs.


Ladyzhenskaya was born and grew up in the small town of Kologriv, the daughter of a mathematics teacher who is credited with her early inspiration and love of mathematics.[1] The artist Gennady Ladyzhensky was her grandfather's brother, also born in this town. In 1937 her father, Aleksandr Ivanovich Ladýzhenski, was arrested by the NKVD and executed as an "enemy of the people".[1]

Ladyzhenskaya completed high school in 1939, unlike her older sisters who weren't permitted to do the same. She was not admitted to the Leningrad State University due to her father's status and attended a pedagogical institute. After the German invasion of June 1941, she taught school in Kologriv. She was eventually admitted to Moscow State University in 1943 and graduated in 1947.[2]

She began teaching in the Physics department of the university in 1950 and defended her PhD there, in 1951, under Sergei Sobolev and Vladimir Smirnov. She received a second doctorate from the Moscow State University in 1953. In 1954, she joined the mathematical physics laboratory of the Steklov Institute and became its head in 1961.[2][3]

Ladyzhenskaya had a love of arts and storytelling, counting writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and poet Anna Akhmatova among her friends. Like Solzhenitsyn she was religious.[4] She was once a member of the city council, and engaged in philanthropic activities, repeatedly risking her personal safety and career to aid people opposed to the Soviet regime. Ladyzhenskaya suffered from various eye problems in her later years and relied on special pencils to do her work.

Two days before a trip to Florida, she passed away in her sleep in Russia on 12 January 2004.[5]

Mathematical accomplishments

Ladyzhenskaya is known for her work on partial differential equations (especially Hilbert's nineteenth problem) and fluid dynamics.[6] She provided the first rigorous proofs of the convergence of a finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations.[7]

She analyzed the regularity of parabolic equations, with Vsevolod A. Solonnikov and her student Nina Ural’tseva, and the regularity of quasilinear elliptic equations.[2]

She wrote a student thesis under Ivan Petrovsky[8] and was on the shortlist for the 1958 Fields Medal,[9] ultimately awarded to Klaus Roth and René Thom.


Awards and recognitions


  1. ^ a b Dumbaugh, Della; Daskalopoulos, Panagiota; Vershik, Anatoly; Kapitanski, Lev; Reshetikhin, Nicolai; Apushkinskaya, Darya; Nazarov, Alexander (March 2020). "The Ties That Bind: Olga Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya and the 2022 ICM in St. Petersburg" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 67 (3): 373–381. doi:10.1090/noti2047.
  2. ^ a b c "Ladyzhenskaya, Olga Alexandrovna". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  3. ^ Pearce (2004).
  4. ^ Math History and St. Andrews
  5. ^ Farah Qaiser (3 June 2019). "Meet Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya: the Russian mathematician who pushed through the Iron Curtain". Massive Science.
  6. ^ Bolibruch, Osipov & Sinai (2006), and also the comment of Peter Lax in Pearce (2004)
  7. ^ Ладыженская (1958).
  8. ^ Riddle (2010).
  9. ^ Barany, Michael (2018). "The Fields Medal should return to its roots". Nature. 553 (7688): 271–273. Bibcode:2018Natur.553..271B. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-00513-8. PMID 29345675.
  10. ^ a b "Olga Ladyzhenskaya's 97th Birthday". 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Google Doodle: Who was Russian mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskay?". Evening Standard. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

See also