Pyotr Novikov
Пётр Но́виков
Born(1901-08-15)15 August 1901
Died9 January 1975(1975-01-09) (aged 73)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Alma materMoscow University
Known forNovikov–Boone theorem
SpouseLyudmila Keldysh
ChildrenSergei Novikov
Scientific career
InstitutionsSteklov Institute of Mathematics
Moscow State Teachers Training Institute
Moscow D. Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology
Doctoral studentsSergei Adian
Albert Muchnik

Pyotr Sergeyevich Novikov[a] (Russian: Пётр Серге́евич Но́виков; 15 August 1901, Moscow – 9 January 1975, Moscow) was a Soviet mathematician known for his work in group theory. His son, Sergei Novikov, was also a mathematician.

Early life and education

Pyotr Sergeyevich Novikov was born on 15 August 1901 in Moscow, Russia to Sergei Novikov, a merchant, and Alexandra Novikov.[1]

He served in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War from 1920 to July 1922.[1] He studied at Moscow University from 1919 to 1920 and again from 1922 until he graduated in 1925.[1] He studied under Nikolai Luzin until he finished his graduate studies in 1929.[1]


Novikov worked at the Moscow D. Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology from 1929 until 1934, when he joined the Department of Real Function Theory at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics. He was awarded his doctorate in 1935 and promoted to full professor in 1939.[1] Novikov became head of the Department of Analysis at the Moscow State Teachers Training Institute in 1944.[1] In 1957, he became the first head of the Department of Mathematical Logic at the Steklov Institute.[1] He jointly held both positions until he retired in 1972 and 1973 respectively.[1]

Sergei Adian and Albert Muchnik were among his students.[2]


Novikov is known for his work on combinatorial problems in group theory: the word problem for groups, and his progress in the Burnside problem.[1] In 1955, he proved the Novikov–Boone theorem: that there is a finite presentation of a group S | R for which there is no algorithm which, given two words u, v, decides whether u and v describe the same element in the group.[3]

Awards and honors

Novikov was elected a corresponding member and then a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union in 1953 and 1960, respectively.

He was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1957 for proving the undecidability of the word problem in groups.[4]

He received the Order of Lenin in 1961 and again in 1971. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. The State Prize of the Russian Federation was awarded to Novikov posthumously in 1999.[citation needed]

Personal life

He was married to mathematician Lyudmila Keldysh (1904–1976).[1] Their son Sergei Novikov (1938–2024) became the first Soviet mathematician to receive the Fields Medal.[5][6]

He died on 9 January 1975 in Moscow.[1]


  1. ^ His name was also romanized as Petr Sergeevich Novikov.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Petr Sergeevich Novikov", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
  2. ^ Pyotr Novikov at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Novikov, Pyotr S. (1955), "On the algorithmic unsolvability of the word problem in group theory", Proceedings of the Steklov Institute of Mathematics (in Russian), 44: 1–143, Zbl 0068.01301
  4. ^ S. I. Adian, Mathematical logic, the theory of algorithms and the theory of sets, AMS Bookstore, 1977, ISBN 0-8218-3033-3, p. 26. (being Novikov's Festschrift on the occasion of his seventieth birthday)
  5. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Sergei Petrovich Novikov", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
  6. ^ Semenov, Kirill Vladimirovich (6 June 2024). "Скончался Сергей Петрович Новиков". Moscow State University (in Russian). Retrieved 6 June 2024.