Love and Mathematics: Sofya Kovalevskaya



Love and Mathematics: Sofya Kovalevskaya
Mir Publishers Moscow | 340 pages | 1985-01-01 | English | ISBN : 0828533733,0828533737 | File type: PDF | 4.7mb

The sheer personality of Sofya Kovalevskaya, the renowned Russian woman mathematician, was so remarkable, multi-faceted, and interesting that the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen said to write her biography would need a poem. My aim in writing this book is different and somewhat more modest: it is to present the basic information about her life irom the numerous sources available. S. Ya. Shtraikh was the first person to collect Sofya Kovalevskaya's vast correspondence as well as that of her husband Vladimir Kovalevsky and his brother Aleksandr. Shtraikh wrote several biographies: S. Kovalevskaya, The Korvin-Krukovsky Sisters, The Kovalevsky Family, and he prepared for publication Memoirs and Letters by S. V. Kovalevskaya. These books are a rich source for a new biography of Sofya Kovalevskaya. After the Second World War, the USSR Academy of Sciences received photocopies of Kovalevskaya's correspondence from the Archive of G. Mittag-Leffler in Stockholm. The then President of the Academy, S. I. Vavilov, gave me the chance to work on these copies, and step by step, I published portions of this correspondence. It included new data on the years of Kovalevskaya's scientific activity as contained in letters from outstanding scientists. The letters from Charles Hermite and Karl Weierstrass were published separately. The correspondence between G. Mittag-Leffler and Kovalevskaya, the most numerous in the Archive, was published in 1984. These letters have been thoroughly studied, and I used them to write three small essays on Kovalevskaya's life and activity and some articles commemorating her anniversaries. L. A. Vorontsova [86] used all these materials to write a fictional biography about Sofya Kovalevskaya.

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