World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Andrey Kolmogorov

Article Id: WHEBN0000091161
Reproduction Date:

Title: Andrey Kolmogorov  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Vladimir Arnold, Wolf Prize in Mathematics, Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, Law of the iterated logarithm, Roland Dobrushin
Collection: 1903 Births, 1987 Deaths, 20Th-Century Mathematicians, Academicians of the Ussr Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Control Theorists, Dynamical Systems Theorists, Foreign Members of the Royal Society, Full Members of the Ussr Academy of Sciences, Heroes of Socialist Labour, Members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Moscow State University Alumni, Moscow State University Faculty, People from Tambov, People from Tambov Governorate, Probability Theorists, Researchers in Stochastics, Russian Information Theorists, Russian Mathematicians, Russian Statisticians, Soviet Mathematicians, Stalin Prize Winners, Textbook Writers, Wolf Prize in Mathematics Laureates
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Andrey Kolmogorov

Andrey Kolmogorov
Born Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov
(1903-04-25)25 April 1903
Tambov, Russian Empire
Died 20 October 1987(1987-10-20) (aged 84)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Citizenship Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet Union
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Moscow State University
Alma mater Moscow State University
Doctoral advisor Nikolai Luzin[1]
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards
Spouse Anna Dmitrievna Egorova (m. 1942–87)

Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov (Russian: Андрей Николаевич Колмогоров; IPA: , 25 April 1903 – 20 October 1987)[4][5] was a 20th-century Soviet mathematician who made significant contributions to the mathematics of probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics, algorithmic information theory and computational complexity.[1][3][6]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Adulthood 1.2
  • Awards and honours 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Early life

Andrey Kolmogorov was born in Tambov, about 500 kilometers south-southeast of Moscow, in 1903. His unmarried mother, Maria Y. Kolmogorova, died giving birth to him.[7] Andrey was raised by two of his aunts in Tunoshna (near Yaroslavl) at the estate of his grandfather, a well-to-do nobleman.

Little is known about Andrey's father. He was supposedly named Nikolai Matveevich Kataev and had been an agronomist. Nikolai had been exiled from St. Petersburg to the Yaroslavl province after his participation in the revolutionary movement against the czars. He disappeared in 1919 and he was presumed to have been killed in the Russian Civil War.

Andrey Kolmogorov was educated in his aunt Vera's village school, and his earliest literary efforts and mathematical papers were printed in the school journal "The Swallow of Spring". Andrey (at the age of five) was the "editor" of the mathematical section of this journal. Kolmogorov's first mathematical discovery was published in this journal: at the age of five he noticed the regularity in the sum of the series of odd numbers.

\begin{align} 1 & = 1^2, \\ 1 + 3 & = 2^2, \\ 1 + 3 + 5 & = 3^2, \\ 1 + 3 + 5 +7 & = 4^2, \end{align}


In 1910, his aunt adopted him, and they moved to Moscow, where he graduated from high school in 1920. Later that same year, Kolmogorov began to study at the Moscow State University and at the same time Mendeleev Moscow Institute of Chemistry and Technology.[9] Kolmogorov writes about this time: "I arrived at Moscow University with a fair knowledge of mathematics. I knew in particular the beginning of set theory. I studied many questions in articles in the Encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron, filling out for myself what was presented too concisely in these articles."[10]

Kolmogorov gained a reputation for his wide-ranging erudition. While an undergraduate student in college, he attended the seminars of the Russian historian S. V. Bachrushin, and he published his first research paper on the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries' landholding practices in the Novgorod Republic.[11] During the same period (1921–22), Kolmogorov worked out and proved several results in set theory and in the theory of Fourier series.


In 1922, Kolmogorov gained international recognition for constructing a Fourier series that diverges almost everywhere.[12][13] Around this time, he decided to devote his life to mathematics.

In 1925, Kolmogorov graduated from the Moscow State University and began to study under the supervision of Nikolai Luzin.[1] He formed a lifelong friendship with Pavel Alexandrov. (Both were later involved in the political persecution of their common teacher Nikolai Luzin, in the so-called Luzin affair in 1936.)[14][15] Kolmogorov (together with Aleksandr Khinchin) became interested in probability theory. Also in 1925, he published his work in intuitionistic logicOn the principle of the excluded middle, in which he proved that under a certain interpretation, all statements of classical formal logic can be formulated as those of intuitionistic logic. In 1929, Kolmogorov earned his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, from the Moscow State University.

In 1930, Kolmogorov went on his first long trip abroad, traveling to Göttingen and Munich, and then to Paris. He had various scientific contacts in Göttingen. First of all with Courant and his students working on limit theorems, where diffusion processes turned out to be the limits of discrete random processes, then with H. Weyl in intuitionistic logic, and lastly with Landau in function theory. His pioneering work, About the Analytical Methods of Probability Theory, was published (in German) in 1931. Also in 1931, he became a professor at the Moscow State University.

In 1933, Kolmogorov published his book, Foundations of the Theory of Probability, laying the modern axiomatic foundations of probability theory and establishing his reputation as the world's leading expert in this field. In 1935, Kolmogorov became the first chairman of the department of probability theory at the Moscow State University. Around the same years (1936) Kolmogorov contributed to the field of ecology and generalized the Lotka–Volterra model of predator-prey systems. In a 1938 paper, Kolmogorov "established the basic theorems for smoothing and predicting stationary stochastic processes"—a paper that would have major military applications during the Cold War.[16] In 1939, he was elected a full member (academician) of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

During World War II Kolmogorov contributed to the Soviet war effort by applying statistical theory to artillery fire, developing a scheme of stochastic distribution of barrage balloons intended to help protect Moscow from German bombers.[17]

In his study of stochastic processes (random processes), especially Markov processes, Kolmogorov and the British mathematician Sydney Chapman independently developed the pivotal set of equations in the field, which have been given the name of the Chapman–Kolmogorov equations.

Kolmogorov (left) delivers a talk at a Soviet information theory symposium. (Tallinn, 1973).
Kolmogorov works on his talk (Tallinn, 1973).

Later, Kolmogorov focused his research on turbulence, where his publications (beginning in 1941) significantly influenced the field. In classical mechanics, he is best known for the Kolmogorov–Arnold–Moser theorem, first presented in 1954 at the International Congress of Mathematicians. In 1957, working jointly with his student V. I. Arnold, he solved a particular interpretation of Hilbert's thirteenth problem. Around this time he also began to develop, and was considered a founder of, algorithmic complexity theory – often referred to as Kolmogorov complexity theory.

Kolmogorov married Anna Dmitrievna Egorova in 1942. He pursued a vigorous teaching routine throughout his life, not only at the university level but also with younger children, as he was actively involved in developing a pedagogy for gifted children (in literature, music, and mathematics). At the Moscow State University, Kolmogorov occupied different positions, including the heads of several departments: probability, statistics, and random processes; mathematical logic. He also served as the Dean of the Moscow State University Department of Mechanics and Mathematics.

In 1971, Kolmogorov joined an oceanographic expedition aboard the research vessel Dmitri Mendeleev. He wrote a number of articles for the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. In his later years, he devoted much of his effort to the mathematical and philosophical relationship between probability theory in abstract and applied areas.[18]

Kolmogorov died in Moscow in 1987, and his remains were buried in the Novodevichy cemetery.

A quotation attributed to Kolmogorov is [translated into English]: "Every mathematician believes that he is ahead of the others. The reason none state this belief in public is because they are intelligent people."

Vladimir Arnold once has said: "Kolmogorov – Poincaré – Gauss – Euler – Newton, are only five lives separating us from the source of our science".

Awards and honours

Kolmogorov received numerous awards and honours both during and after his lifetime:

The following are named in Kolmogorov's honour:


A bibliography of his works appeared in "Publications of A. N. Kolmogorov". Annals of Probability 17 (3): 945–964. July 1989.  


  • A. N. Kolmogorov and B. V. Gnedenko. "Limit distributions for sums of independent random variables", 1954.
  • A. N. Kolmogorov and S. V. Fomin. "Elements of the Theory of Functions and Functional Analysis", Publication 1999, Publication 2012


  1. ^ a b c d Andrey Kolmogorov at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b Youschkevitch, A.P. (1983), "A.N.Kolmogorov: Historian and philosopher of mathematics on the occasion of his 80th birfhday",  
  3. ^ a b c  
  4. ^ "Academician Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov (obituary)". Russian Mathematical Surveys 43: 1–9. 1988.  
  5. ^ Parthasarathy, K. R. (1988). "Obituary: Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov". Journal of Applied Probability 25 (2): 445–450.  
  6. ^  .
  7. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Andrey Nikolayevich Kolmogorov", accessed February 22, 2013.
  8. ^ "Andrei N Kolmogorov prepared by V M Tikhomirov". Wolf Prize in Mathematics, v.2. World Scientific. 2001. pp. 119–141.  
  9. ^ "Андрей Николаевич КОЛМОГОРОВ. Curriculum Vitae". 
  10. ^ Kolmogorov in Perspective (History of Mathematics). 2000. p. 6.  
  11. ^ Salsburg, David (2001). The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century. New York: W. H. Freeman. pp. 137–50.  
  12. ^ Kolmogoriv, A. (1923). "Une série de Fourier–Lebesgue divergente presque partout" [A Fourier–Lebesgue series that diverges almost everywhere] (PDF). Fundamenta Mathematicae (in French) 4 (1): 324–328. 
  13. ^ Obituary: A. N. Kolmogorov – Physics Today
  14. ^ Lorentz, G. G. (2001). "Who discovered analytic sets?". The Mathematical Intelligencer 23 (4): 28–32.  
  15. ^  .
  16. ^ Salsburg, p. 139.
  17. ^ Gleick, James (2012). The Information: a history, a theory, a flood. New York: Vintage Books. p. 334.  
  18. ^ Salsburg, pp. 145–7.
  19. ^ "A.N. Kolmogorov (1903–1987)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  20. ^  

External links

  • pediaBiography at Scholar
  • The Legacy of Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov Curriculum Vitae and Biography. Kolmogorov School. Ph.D. students and descendants of A. N. Kolmogorov. A. N. Kolmogorov works, books, papers, articles. Photographs and Portraits of A. N. Kolmogorov.
  • The origins and legacy of Kolmogorov's Grundbegriffe
  • Vitanyi, P.M.B., Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov. Scholarpedia, 2(2):2798; 2007
  • Collection of links to Kolmogorov resources
  • Interview with Professor A. M. Yaglom about Kolmogorov, Gelfand and other (1988, Ithaca, New York)
  • Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov (in Russian)
  • Kolmogorov School at Moscow University
  • Annual Kolmogorov Lecture at the Computer Learning Research Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Lorentz G. G., Mathematics and Politics in the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1953
  • Kutateladze S. S., The Tragedy of Mathematics in Russia
  • Video recording of the G. Falkovich's lecture: "Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov (1903–1987) and the Russian school"
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.