Google Doodle on Thursday celebrated the 97th birth anniversary Olga Ladyzhenskaya, a Russian mathematician who triumphed over personal tragedy and obstacles to become one of the most influential thinkers of her generation.
Born on March 7, 1922 in the rural town of Kologriv, Ladyzhenskaya developed a passion for studying algebra under the influence of her father, a mathematician descended from Russian nobility.
Ladyzhenskaya's father was jailed and executed by the Soviet authorities when she was just 15 years old. He was accused of being an "enemy of the state".
Subsequently, her mother and sisters sold dresses, shoes, and soap to make ends meet.
After being denied admission to Leningrad State University because of her family name and years after teaching math to secondary school students, Ladyzhenskaya was admitted into the Moscow State University where she studied under the renowned mathematician Ivan Petrovsky.
She obtained her PhD and went on to head the Laboratory of Mathematical Physics at the Steklov Mathematical Institute.
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic pressures that followed, Ladyzhenskaya was elected to stay in Russia.
The author of more than 250 papers, Ladyzhenskaya’s methods for solving partial differential equations remain profoundly influential. A member of the St. Petersburg Mathematical Society since 1959, she became its president in 1990. Beyond mathematics, she was also a lover of nature and the arts.
Recognized by numerous international institutions, she was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002 for her impressive contributions to the world of mathematics.
(With inputs from Google Doodle blog)