Life story

It seems that searching for the roots of genius is worth it in the genius's childhood. It's also worth understanding his upbringing, education, development, and the people who surrounded him at all times. We meticulously collected the key milestones of Andrei Nikolaevich's life and compiled a timeline of his life.

Early years

Andrei Nikolayevich Kolmogorov was born on April 25 (12), **1903** in Tambov

Gymnasium

In **1910**, Vera Kolmogorova and her nephew Andrei moved to Moscow, where he entered the Repman Private Gymnasium.

First Job

University

In **1920**, Kolmogorov entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at Moscow Universityand joined Nikolai Luzin's science club. From that point on, his entire life would be inseparable from the University.

Teaching

From **1920** to **1925** , he worked as a teacher at the Potylikhinskaya Experimental and Demonstration School at the People's Commissariat of Education.

Postgraduate Studies

In **1925** , after graduating from the university, Kolmogorov pursued postgraduate studies, with professor Nikolai Luzin as his supervisor.

Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics

In **1929** , Andrei Kolmogorov completed his postgraduate studies, having published 18 (!) mathematical papers in the process, and joined the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics at Moscow University.

Journey along the Volga

In **1929**, Andrei Komogorov went on a boat trip on the Volga, where he made friends with mathematician Pavel Alexandrov. In **1935**, they bought a house in Komarovka near Moscow, which turned into a major hub for Moscow's mathematical community. Andrei and Pavel's friendship lasted their entire lives.

Germany and France

From June **1930** to March **1931**, he was on a business trip in Germany and France, where he interacted with leading contemporary mathematicians: Richard Courant, Edmund Landau, Hermann Weyl, and others.

Professor

In March **1931**, he became a professor at Moscow State University.

Director of the Research Institute

In December **1933 ** , Kolmogorov was appointed director of the Research Institute of Mathematics at Moscow University.

Doctor of Science

In **1935**, Kolmogorov earned his Doctoral Degree in Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

Mathematical Olympiad

Permanent Editor

After the first issue of the journal "Advances in Mathematical Sciences" came out in **1936 **, Kolmogorov became a permanent member of its editorial board and served as its editor-in-chief from **1946** to **1955** and then from **1982** to **1987**.

Department of Probability Theory

In **1938** , Kolmogorov became the head of the Department of Probability Theory at the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Academician

In **1939 ** , Kolmogorov was elected Full Member (Academician) of the USSR Academy of Sciences. From **1939** to **1942**, he served as academic secretary at the Department of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences and a member of the Academy's Presidium.

Marriage

In the autumn of **1942** , Kolmogorov marries Anna Dmitrievna Egorova, his childhood friend.

Journal

In **1943** , he starts keeping a journal where he records his life observations.

Dean

In **1954** , Kolmogorov was appointed Dean of the MSU Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics.

Student Seminars

In **1955** , he started leading a student seminar dedicated to the theory of approximate representations of functions of several variables. Asмa long-term goal, Kolmogorov suggests that recent high school graduates tackle Hilbert's 13th problem.

Kolmogorov was elected an honorary doctor of the University of Paris in **1955 ** , Kolmogorov was elected an honorary doctor of the University of Paris in **1959**, and an honorary doctor of sciences of Stockholm University (Sweden) and a foreign member of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in **1960.**

Statistical Laboratory

In **1960** , he established a statistical laboratory a the Department of Probability Theory at Moscow State University.

Hero of Labor

In **1963** , Kolmogorov was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor.

Specialized Boarding School

In **1963 **, four physics and mathematics boarding schools were opened in the USSR. Kolmogorov was one of the initiators of establishing such a school at Moscow University. He personally taught there until the late **1970-s**.

__From the interview with Andrei Kolmogorov about the boarding school and its pupils >>__

Academy of Pedagogical Sciences

In **1966, **Andrei Kolmogorov and Vladimir Arnold were honored with the Lenin Prize for their work on the theory of perturbations of Hamiltonian systems.

Department of Mathematical Statistics

Since **1976** — Head of the Department of Mathematical Statistics atмthe Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University.

Quantum Magazine

Kolmogorov was among the founders of "Quantum" – a popular science monthly for schoolstudents first published in **1970**.

President of the Moscow Mathematical Society

From **1973** to **1985** , he served asмPresident of the Moscow Mathematical Society.

Editor-in-Chief

In **1982** , Kolmogorov became the editor-in-chief of the "Uspehi matematicheskich nauk" journal ("Russian Mathematical Surveys").

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

There was no primer. There was no such thing where first came the letter "B", then "A", then a word composed of the letters that were studied earlier. I watched how older kids read and learned to read. Among the first books were Leo Tolstoy's "Four Books for Reading". I remember well how Selma Lagerlöf's "Tales of Christ" were read to me.

In my early upbringing, the atmosphere of a wealthy noble house was combined with the habits of liberal intelligentsia. For instance, I was obliged to participate in "harvesting" firewood. We would go to the forest, gather bundles of firewood, although the house was huge and our share of branches in heating was negligible. They brought several sledges with huge stacks of firewood.

In my early upbringing, the atmosphere of a wealthy noble house was combined with the habits of liberal intelligentsia. For instance, I was obliged to participate in "harvesting" firewood. We would go to the forest, gather bundles of firewood, although the house was huge and our share of branches in heating was negligible. They brought several sledges with huge stacks of firewood.

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

The gymnasium had small classes, with 15-20 students each. A significant number of teachers were themselves enthusiasts of science. Occasionally, university professors taught us—our geography teacher, for instance, participated in fascinating expeditions. Many pupils engaged in a friendly competition to independently study extra material, sometimes with the cunning intention to embarrass less knowledgeable teachers with their acquired knowledge. There was an attempt to introduce the tradition of public defense of the final essay (akin to a university thesis) by graduating students. I was among the top students in mathematics in my class, but my initial serious scientific interests during school were biology and later, Russian history...

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

Life in Moscow between 1918 and 1920 was challenging. Only the most determined students took their studies seriously in schools. During this period, I had to depart for the construction of the Kazan-Yekaterinburg railway. While working, I continued my independent studies, preparing to complete my high school education as an external student. Upon my return to Moscow, I was somewhat disheartened: I was handed my school-leaving certificate without even being examined.

Having passed my first-year exams in the first few months, as a second-year student, I received the right to 16 kg of bread and 1 kg of butter per month, which by the standards of that time meant true financial well-being. I had my own clothes, and I crafted the wooden-soled shoes myself.

Having passed my first-year exams in the first few months, as a second-year student, I received the right to 16 kg of bread and 1 kg of butter per month, which by the standards of that time meant true financial well-being. I had my own clothes, and I crafted the wooden-soled shoes myself.

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

"In my school years, I was a sickly child and even fainted once in our school play yard ... My teaching experience at the Potylikhinskaya School was good for my health. As a young teacher, I wanted to be popular, but was not strong enough physically. In those days, each class could choose the homeroom teacher – this was a rule in schools. I had a favorite class and was absolutely sure that they would choose me, but they opted for the PE teacher ... I was so astounded that I started to improve my fitness by skiing more, learning to swim well, and so on."

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

"Throughout the years, my work at MSU followed a set routine: I gave a compulsory course for about two hours a week and a special course on the most recent research, including my own, for another two hours. The lectures were followed by one or two seminars attended by a dozen students who made presentations in turn. Of course, the course leader had more to say than the others. By the end of the seminars, we picked out several students for individual work."

Pavel Alexandrov and Aleksandr Khinchin on the significance of Andrey Kolmogorov's paper "On analytical methods in probability theory"

"In the entire field of probability theory of the 20^{th} century, one can hardly pinpoint another study that was so essential for further development of science and its applications as this paper by Andrey Nikolaevich. Today, a vast field of probability studies has evolved from this work, including the theory of random processes, which in terms of its scope and number of applications can compete with the classical parts of probability theory.

The differential "Kolmogorov equations" that govern the Markov processes and aremathematically justified in rigorous and broad manner, encompass all the particular cases of equations (Smoluchowski, Chapman, Fokker-Planck, etc.), which until then had been derived and applied by physicists on an ad hoc basis, without sufficient justification and clear understanding of their underlying premises.

These Kolmogorov equations have always served as the basis for a vast amount of research worldwide; they have proven to be fundamental both for further development of the theory and for the mathematical processing of a wide range of applied problems."

The differential "Kolmogorov equations" that govern the Markov processes and aremathematically justified in rigorous and broad manner, encompass all the particular cases of equations (Smoluchowski, Chapman, Fokker-Planck, etc.), which until then had been derived and applied by physicists on an ad hoc basis, without sufficient justification and clear understanding of their underlying premises.

These Kolmogorov equations have always served as the basis for a vast amount of research worldwide; they have proven to be fundamental both for further development of the theory and for the mathematical processing of a wide range of applied problems."

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

"In those years, Göttingen was perceived as Germany's top mathematical center and a worthy competitor for Paris in France and Princeton in the United States. Göttingen achieved its high standing despite a very limited permanent staff. There were only four full-time math professors: David Hilbert, Richard Courant, Edmund Landau, and, I believe, Felix Bernstein (Hilbert turned 66 and was due to retire, and Herman Weyl had already been invited to replace him). Courant's numerous young associates (Kurt Friedrich, Franz Rellich, Hans Lewy, and others) held assistant positions. Even Emmy Noether herself, already seen as the leader of modern general algebra, did not have a tenure. Her students Van der Varden and Döring were also assistants... The core group of Göttingen mathematicians revolved around Hilbert, Courant, Landau, and Noether. It was a very friendly team, and Pavel Alexandrov was considered an integral part of it...

In Göttingen, I had diverse scientific contacts, first with Courant and his students in the field of limit theorems, where differential processes turn out to be limits of discrete random processes, then with Hermann Weyl in intuitionistic logic, and, finally, with Edmund Landau in the theory of functions."

In Göttingen, I had diverse scientific contacts, first with Courant and his students in the field of limit theorems, where differential processes turn out to be limits of discrete random processes, then with Hermann Weyl in intuitionistic logic, and, finally, with Edmund Landau in the theory of functions."

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

"To myself and my eightieth birthday, with wishes to keep enough sense by that date to be able to at least understand what I wrote when I was forty and judge my own writings harshly but sympathetically."

"By the age of forty, I began to feel more acutely how life flows... slips away actually, and how much value my past years hold compared to what lies ahead, while at 16 and even at 30, you feel like you are still preparing for a greater future. So I felt a need to capture the present as it transitions from non-existence not yet born to non-existence already passed....

My immediate tasks:

I. Quickly deal with minor things (shooting, scraping, Lobachevsky).

II. Smoothly manage all family and household tasks (bring Vera and Varya, take Varya to Nadya's, pick up Anya from work, etc.)

III. Work steadily and calmly on big projects (analysis course, turbulence, spectra).

"I did quite well today: I wrote an outline for the paper "The number of hits in multiple shots and general principles of evaluating the effectiveness of a shooting system". It looks like a beautiful piece of work. I wrote five pages and added ten more from my previous papers. This will be the first paper in the collection that I've been working on so hard."

"Frost on the neighboring roofs is melting under the sun rays. It seems like it's finally going to be a clear, sunny day. Yesterday I added a mini lecture on applied mathematics to my report: "At any given moment, there is only a thin layer between the "trivial" and the "inaccessible". It is there that mathematical discoveries occur. In most cases, an applied task is either solved trivially or not solved at all… But selecting (or adapting) an application for a new mathematical apparatus a mathematician has in mind is a different kettle of fish altogether."

Excerpts from Andrei Kolmogorov's Memoirs

"Looking at biographies of famous scientists, we will notice that early in their career, they were either school teachers passionate about science and eager to support gifted students, or young research supervisors who could suggest a good topic for independent student research, usually carefully chosen and tailored to the student's talents and needs. Or, we will often see them have one or two close peers ready to support each other – a mutual affinity that shapes a future scientist and will always be highly valued.

Now, when our country needs many highly-qualified professionals in various fields of science and technology, we should create an extensive system of educational formats, including elective classes for high school students, specialized schools, and various types of extracurricular work (school clubs at universities, Olympiads, etc.). Also, we should explain the specific practices of universities and technology institutes like MIPT to young people, properly organize competitive exams there, and extensively involve students in research even at those universities where research training is only an auxiliary track. However, all these measures will not yield the expected result if they are not backed by personalized support of each future scientist that I spoke about at the beginning."

Now, when our country needs many highly-qualified professionals in various fields of science and technology, we should create an extensive system of educational formats, including elective classes for high school students, specialized schools, and various types of extracurricular work (school clubs at universities, Olympiads, etc.). Also, we should explain the specific practices of universities and technology institutes like MIPT to young people, properly organize competitive exams there, and extensively involve students in research even at those universities where research training is only an auxiliary track. However, all these measures will not yield the expected result if they are not backed by personalized support of each future scientist that I spoke about at the beginning."