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Pavel Sergeyevich Alexandrov (Russian: Па́вел Серге́евич Алекса́ндров), sometimes romanized Aleksandroff or Aleksandrov (November 16, 1896–May 7, 1982) was a Soviet Russian mathematician. He wrote about three hundred papers, making important contributions to set theory and topology.

In topology, the Alexandroff compactification and the Alexandrov topology are named after him.

Alexandrov attended Moscow State University where he was a student of Dmitri Egorov and Nikolai Luzin. Together with Pavel Urysohn, he visited the University of Göttingen in 1923 and 1924. After getting his Ph.D. in 1927, he continued to work at Moscow State University and also joined the Steklov Mathematical Institute. He made lifelong friends with Andrey Kolmogorov, about whom he said: "in 1979 this friendship [with Kolmogorov] celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and over the whole of this half century there was not only never any breach in it, there was also never any quarrel, in all this time there was never any misunderstanding between us on any question, no matter how important for our lives and our philosophy; even when our opinions on one of these questions differed, we showed complete understanding and sympathy for the views of each other."[1]

Alexandrov was an active participant in the political offensive against Luzin which is known as the Luzin affair (1936).

He had a number of students, including Aleksandr Kurosh, Lev Pontryagin and Andrey Tychonoff. He was made a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1953.

He was widely thought to be homosexual.[2]

Pavel Alexandrov should not be confused with Aleksandr Danilovich Aleksandrov, another mathematician at the Steklov Institute.


1. ^ Vitányi, P.M.B. (1988). "Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov". CWI Quarterly (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) 1 (2): 3–18. http://repository.cwi.nl/search/fullrecord.php?publnr=2429.
2. ^ Lorentz, G.G. (December 2001). "Who Discovered Analytic Sets?". The Mathematical Intelligencer 23 (4): 31. doi:10.1007/BF03024600. http://www.springerlink.com/content/0511u5425426r48k/. "In Leningrad, many mathematicians believed that Aleksandrov was homosexual...".

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Pavel Alexandrov", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Aleksandrov.html .
* Pavel Alexandrov at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* The 1936 Luzin affair – from the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive
* Lorentz G.G., Mathematics and Politics in the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1953
* Kutateladze S.S., The Tragedy of Mathematics in Russia


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