Olga Ladyzhenskaya

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.

Olga Ladyzhenskaya
Olga Aleksandrovna Ladyzhenskaya

(1922-03-07)7 March 1922
Died12 January 2004(2004-01-12) (aged 81)
Alma materMoscow University
Known forFluid dynamics of the Navier–Stokes equations, Hilbert's nineteenth problem, partial differential equations
AwardsLomonosov Gold Medal (2002)
Scientific career
FieldsPartial differential equations
InstitutionsSaint Petersburg University
Doctoral advisorIvan Petrovsky
Sergei Sobolev
Notable studentsNina Uraltseva
Ludvig Faddeev
Vladimir Buslaev


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. 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".

Ladyzhenskaya completed high school in 1939, unlike her older sisters who weren't permitted to do the same. She was not admitted to Leningrad State University due to her father's status. Ladyzhenskaya attended a pedagogical institute then, after the German invasion of June 1941, taught school in Kologriv. She was finally admitted to Moscow State University in 1943 and graduated in 1947.[1]

Finally admitted to Leningrad State University, she received her PhD there under Sergei Sobolev and Vladimir Smirnov in 1951 and began teaching in the physics department in Leningrad in 1950. She received a second doctorate from Moscow State University in 1953. In 1954, she joined the mathematical physics laboratory of the Steklov Institute and became its head in 1961.[1][2]

Ladyzhenskaya had a love of arts and storytelling, counting writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and poet Anna Akhmatova as her friends. She was once a member of the city council, had philanthropic efforts, and repeatedly risked her personal safety and career to aid those oppressed by 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 January 12, 2004.[3]

Mathematical accomplishments

She was known for her work on partial differential equations (especially Hilbert's nineteenth problem) and fluid dynamics.[4] She provided the first rigorous proofs of the convergence of a finite difference method for the Navier–Stokes equations.[5]

She analyzed the regularity of parabolic equations, with Vsevolod A. Solonnikov and her student Nina Ural’tseva, and the regularity of quasilinear elliptic equations.[6]

She wrote a student theses under Ivan Petrovsky[7] and was on the shortlist for potential recipients for the 1958 Fields Medal,[8] ultimately awarded to Klaus Roth and René Thom.


  • Ladyzhenskaya, O.A. (1969) [1963], The Mathematical Theory of Viscous Incompressible Flow, Mathematics and Its Applications, 2 (Revised Second ed.), New York; London; Paris; Montreux; Tokyo; Melbourne: Gordon and Breach, pp. xviii+224, MR 0254401, Zbl 0184.52603.
  • Ladyženskaja, O.A.; Solonnikov, V.A.; Ural'ceva, N.N. (1968), Linear and quasi-linear equations of parabolic type, Translations of Mathematical Monographs, 23, Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society, pp. xi+648, ISBN 978-0821886533, MR 0241821, Zbl 0174.15403.
  • Ladyzhenskaya, Olga A.; Ural'tseva, Nina N. (1968), Linear and Quasilinear Elliptic Equations, Mathematics in Science and Engineering, 46, New York and London: Academic Press, pp. xviii+495, ISBN 978-0080955544, MR 0244627, Zbl 0164.13002.
  • Ladyzhenskaya, O.A. (1985), The Boundary Value Problems of Mathematical Physics, Applied Mathematical Sciences, 49, Berlin; Heidelberg; New York: Springer Verlag, pp. xxx+322, doi:10.1007/978-1-4757-4317-3, ISBN 978-0521399227, MR 0793735, Zbl 0588.35003 (Translated by Jack Lohwater).
  • Ladyzhenskaya, O.A. (1991), Attractors for Semigroups and Evolution Equations, Lezioni Lincee, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. xi+73, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511569418, ISBN 978-0521399227, MR 1133627, Zbl 0755.47049

Awards and recognitions

See also


  1. "Ladyzhenskaya, Olga Alexandrovna". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  2. Pearce, Jeremy (25 January 2004). "Dr. Olga Ladyzhenskaya, 81, Mathematician". New York Times. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  3. https://massivesci.com/articles/olga-aleksandrovna-ladyzhenskaya-russian-mathematician-our-science-hero/
  4. See reference Bolibruch, Osipov & Sinai 2006, and also the comment of Peter Lax in (Pearce 2004)
  5. See reference Ладыженская 1958
  6. https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ladyzhenskaya-olga-alexandrovna
  7. See the biography by Riddle (2010) from the Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College.
  8. 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.
  9. "Olga Ladyzhenskaya's 97th Birthday". 7 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  10. "Google Doodle: Who was Russian mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskay?". Evening Standard. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.



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