Google paid a tribute to the legendary Russian mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya by creating a wonderful doodle for her birthday. 7th March is the 97th birthday of this mathematician who is known for her path-breaking work on partial differential equations and fluid dynamics. This further led to innovation in the fields of oceanography, cardiovascular sciences, and weather forecasting.
Her life is a huge inspiration as she overcame personal tragedies and broke cultural and societal norms to pursue her dreams.
Born in 1922, Olga was born to a Maths teacher. It was her father that nurtured a deep love for the subject of mathematics within her. Unfortunately, when she was 15, her father was jailed and later executed for being an “enemy to the state.” She was also barred from entering the Leningrad University due to her surname.
However, she defied all odds and pursued a postgraduation at Leningrad University. But, it was only after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 that she got a chance to publish her thesis. She earned her PhD under the supervision of the eminent mathematician Ivan Petrovsky. The fact that she authored more than 250 papers in her lifetime is a testimony to her brilliance.
She received numerous awards and accolades in her lifetime. From 1959 onwards, she became a member of the St Petersberg Mathematical society and subsequently, became its president in 1990. She was shortlisted for the Fields Medal – the highest prize in Mathematics – in 1958. She was also awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002.
She breathed her last on January 12th 2004 at the age of 85.