From the history
of the St. Petersburg Mathematical Society

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The St. Petersburg Mathematical Society was organized in 1890 and was the third mathematical society in Russia after the Moscow (1867) and the Khar'kov (1879) ones. Its first president was V.G.Imshenetskii (1890--1892), who brought forward the idea of the establishment of the Society, and after his death Yu.-K.Sokhotsky became president and kept this position until the first period of the existence of the Society was interrupted before the Revolution (apparently, in 1905).

Recreated in 1921 owing to the efforts of A.V.Vassiliev, under the name of the Petrograd Physical and Mathematical Society, the society began to play a very important role in mathematical life of the city and the country. During the second period of its work (till the next break) there were about 150 sessions. A.V.Vasiliev was president of the Society in 1921--1923, and N.M.Günter was president since 1923. An active part in the work of the society was taken by Ya.V.Uspenskii, V.I.Smirnov, B.N.Delone, G.M.Fikhtengol'ts, V.A.Steklov, A.A.Friedmann (secretary of the Society in 1923--1925), V.A.Fock, A.S.Bezikovich, S.N.Bernstein, Ya.D.Tamarkin, R.O.Kuzmin, N.I.Muskhelishvili, L.G.Loytsyanskii, B.G.Galerkin. The "Journal of the Leningrad Physical and Mathematical Society", founded by V.A.Steklov, was published since 1926 (after Steklov's death in 1926, the editorial board was headed by Ya.V.Uspenskii). At that time it was one of the few mathematical journals in the country. The victimization since late 20th of independently thinking people, in particular scientists, led to the decision of self dissolution of the society (that probably had eased fates of many mathematicians).

In 1953, the Leningrad Mathematical Seminar was organized on V.I.Smirnov's initiative. Actually, it played the role of society for several years. During that period the activity of the seminar and of the society was connected with the names of V.I.Smirnov, G.M.Fikhtengol'ts, A.A.Markov jr., A.D.Aleksandrov, I.P.Natanson, S.M.Lozinskii, L.V.Kantorovich, D.K.Faddeev, O.A.Ladyzhenskaya, Yu.V.Linnik, B.A.Venkov. It was only in 1959 that, due to the efforts of V.I.Smirnov and A.D.Aleksandrov, it became possible to organize the Leningrad Mathematical Society (now the St. Petersburg Mathematical Society). V.I.Smirnov was elected honorary president of the society, and Yu.V.Linnik president.

In 1965--1985, S.M.Lozinskii, in 1985--1989 D.K.Faddeev, in 1990--1998 O.A.Ladyzhenskaya, and in 1998--2008 A.M.Vershik were presidents of the society. In 2008, Yu.V.Matiyasevich became its president. At present, the society unites practically all active mathematicians of St. Petersburg as well as a number of mathematicians working abroad (see Section Members). SPbMS is a collective member of the European Mathematical Society and has tight contacts with the Moscow Mathematical Society and the American Mathematical Society.

Honorary Members of the Society:
V.I.Smirnov, A.D.Aleksandrov, S.N.Bernstein, L.V.Kantorovich, A.A.Markov, M.G.Krein, S.G.Mikhlin, O.A.Ladyzhenskaya, V.A.Zalgaller, N.A.Shanin, A.M.Vershik, I.A.Ibragimov and V.M.Babich have been elected Honorary Members of the Society.

"Proceedings of the St. Petersburg Mathematical Society" are being published since 1990.

Meetings of the society are held regularly (see reports published in the "Russian Mathematics Surveys").

Since 1962, the "Young Mathematician prize" of the society is being awarded annually.

The present bodies of the society have been elected in 2012. The Rules of the society have been adopted in 2012.

During the first two periods of the Society existence (1890-1914, 1921-1930), it encountered about 100 members. The progress of its growth can be seen in the following table.

 Year
 ====
 1893
 1927
 1959
 1963
 1973
 1978
 1984
 1990
 1996
 2000
 2005
 2010
 The number of members
 =====================
   98
  102
   49
   92
  123
  150
  209
  241
  332
  356
  382
  385

More detailed stories that have been the sources of this text can be found in sketches by A.M.Vershik and N.S.Ermolaeva, "Proceedings of the St. Petersburg Mathematical Society", Vols. 1 and 2.

Any comments are welcomed. Mail to the Council of the SPbMS


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Last updated: 08.09.2012