15.12.2003 | Vasyl Ovsienko, Kyiv

Monument to repressed mathematician Mykhaylo Kravchuk


On 20 May 2003 the monument to academician Mykhaylo Kravchuk, an outstanding mathematician of the 20 thcentury, was erected on the Muzeyna Square of the National Technical University “Kyiv polytechnic institute”. M. Kravchuk was arrested on 21 February 1938 and accused of “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism” and “espionage”. He perished in a camp near Magadan on 27 September 1942.

Mykhaylo Kravchuk was born on 27 September 1892 in the village of Chovnytsa, the Volyn oblast. He learned at Lutsk gymnasia. After graduation from St. Vladimir Kyiv University he taught mathematics in the village of Savarka, the Boguslav district (one of his pupils was Arkhip Luilka, who later became a general constructor of aircraft engines and created the two-loop turbo-jet engine). Since 1921 M. Kravchuk worked in higher schools of Kyiv. When Kravchuk was 33 years old, he became a professor; he was a member of mathematical societies of several countries, in 1928 he took part in the International congress of mathematicians in Bologna. In 1929 he was elected as an academician of the all-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. From 1934 to the arrest he headed the chair of higher mathematics in the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

The monument created by sculptor Oleksandr Skoblikov was erected owing to the efforts of Ukrainian scientists, in particular, Nina Virchenko, a former political and now a professor of the KPI. The signature on the pedestal reads: “I love Ukraine and mathematics”.

Several international scientific conferences named after M. Kravchuk have been already conducted in Kyiv, the 800-page book of his selected scientific works was published. The world knows about “polynomials of Kravchuk” and “oscillators of Kravchuk”, his discoveries played an important role in the invention of computers, he was a founder of the Ukrainian mathematical terminology. Kravchuk’s scientific works on highest algebra and mathematical analysis, theories of differential and integral equations, probability theory, mathematical statistics and geometry are the part of the thesaurus of world science. He wrote to his wife from the camp that he solved there some mathematic problem and passed the calculations to the administration of the camp. Most probably, these calculations vanished in the camp like the great mathematician himself…

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