Pavel Alexandrov

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Pavel Sergeyevich Alexandrov
Paul S Alexandroff 2.jpg
Pavel Sergeyevich Alexandrov
Born (1896-05-07)7 May 1896
Bogorodsk, Moscow Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 16 November 1982(1982-11-16) (aged 86)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet Union
Fields Mathematics
Alma mater Moscow State University
Doctoral advisor Dmitri Egorov
Nikolai Luzin
Doctoral students Aleksandr Kurosh
Lev Pontryagin
Andrey Tychonoff

Pavel Sergeyevich Alexandrov (Russian: Па́вел Серге́евич Алекса́ндров), sometimes romanized Aleksandroff or Aleksandrov (7 May 1896 – 16 November 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] According to some researchers, the two were involved in a homosexual relationship in the 1930s,[2][3] while others deny this and suppose that this rumour was spread in the 1950s in order to rehabilitate them as the participants of the Luzin affair.[4]

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.

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

Honours and awards


  1. Vitányi, P.M.B. (1988). "Andrei Nikolaevich Kolmogorov". CWI Quarterly. Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica. 1 (2): 3–18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lorentz, G.G. (December 2001). "Who Discovered Analytic Sets?". The Mathematical Intelligencer. 23 (4): 31. doi:10.1007/BF03024600. In Leningrad, many mathematicians believed that Aleksandrov was homosexual...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Graham, Loren R.; Kantor, Jean-Michel (2009). Naming infinity: a true story of religious mysticism and mathematical creativity. Harvard University Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-674-03293-4. The police soon learned of Kolmogorov and Alexandrov's homosexual bond, and they used that knowledge to obtain the behavior that they wished.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Kutateladze S.S., The Tragedy of Mathematics in Russia

External links