Ostrogradsky Mikhail Vasilyevich

(12(24).09.1801 20.12.1861/(01.01.1862)


Russian mathematician and mechanic of Ukrainian origin, academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences since 1830, the recognized leader of mathematicians of the Russian Empire in the 1830-1860s.

Born in the village of Pashennaya, Kobelyaksky district, Poltava province, in the family of a landowner from the noble house of Ostrogradsky. In childhood, he was extremely inquisitive to natural science phenomena, although he did not show any craving for learning.

From 1816 he was a volunteer (from 1817 students) of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Kharkov University, where he studied under T.F. Osipovsky. In 1820  Ostrogradsky passed the candidate exams with honors. However, the reactionary part of the Kharkiv professorship succeeded in depriving the young man of a candidate of sciences certificate and a university diploma. It was motivated by the non-attendance of lectures on theology. He never received a degree.

In 1822  Mikhail Vasilyevich, wanting to continue his studies in mathematics, was forced to leave for Paris, where he continued to study mathematics at the Sorbonne and the College de France, attended lectures by famous French scientists - Laplace, Fourier, Ampère, Poisson and Cauchy.

In 1823 he was invited as a professor at the college of Henry IV.

In 1826 the first scientific successes came to the young scientist. Ostrogradsky presented the Paris Academy of Sciences a memoir "On the propagation of waves in a cylindrical basin". The famous French mathematician Cauchy wrote about Ostrogradsky: "This Russian young man is gifted with great insight and very knowledgeable".

In 1828 Ostrogradsky returned to his homeland with a French diploma and with a well-deserved reputation as a talented scientist.

In 1830  he was elected an extraordinary academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, and later, thanks to outstanding scientific achievements, a corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Sciences, a member of the American, Roman and other academies and scientific societies. Honorary Member of Moscow University.

From 1831 to 1862 Ostrogradsky headed the Department of Applied Mechanics at the Institute of the Corps of Railway Engineers. From 17 (29) December 1838 he taught at the Main Engineering School of the Russian Empire.

Becoming a world-class celebrity, Ostrogradsky launched a large pedagogical and social activity in St. Petersburg. He was a professor at the Nikolaev Engineering Academy and the School, the Naval Cadet Corps, the Institute of Railway Engineers, the Main Pedagogical Institute, the Main Artillery School and other educational institutions. For many years he worked as a principal observer for the teaching of mathematics in military schools. Ostrogradsky failed to appreciate the innovative work of N.I. Lobachevsky and gave them a negative review.

At the end of his life Ostrogradsky was interested in spiritualism. N.E. Zhukovsky described his later philosophical views in the following way: “Having borrowed my deep knowledge in the center of the academic world, M.V. remained in character the same crest that his father was. Perhaps the influence of the French thinkers was somewhat reflected in his inner world outlook, but at the end of his life, the influence smoothed out.

The merits of Ostrogradsky were awarded orders of St. Anna of 3 degrees and St. Stanislav of I degree.

According to the will he was buried in his native village.

The mountains and their northern part (the ridge of the professor) in the north of the Earth Cirkapp. The coordinates are 77° 00'N   16° 50'E.

Glacier (Professor) in the north-east of the mountains Ostrogradsky. The coordinates are 77° 00'N   16° 50'E.


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