viernes, 10 de diciembre de 2010

Sofia Kovalevskaia (English)

In the history of science has been, and perhaps never again have many female names that are famous throughout the world. Among those names is the universal fame of Kovalevskaia Sofia, a beautiful Russian woman, said Nikolai Zhukovsky, a leading Russian scientist aeronautical theory has contributed significantly to glorify the Russian name. "Kovalevskaia Sofia was born on January 15, 1850 in Moscow. His father, Vasily Korvin-Krukovski, was a lieutenant-general of artillery. His mother, Elizaveta Shubert, was 20 years younger than her husband. Later Kovalevskaia say about herself: "I had inherited the passion for learning of my ancestor, the Hungarian King Matvei Korvin, love of mathematics, music, poetry, my grandfather on mother's side, the astronomer Shubert and my personal freedom, Poland; of my gypsy grandmother, my love for vagrancy and unwillingness to obey the customs and the rest is my Russian heritage. "When the little Sonia (short for Sofia) was 6, his father retired from military service and settled on his farm in Palíbino, in the province of Vitebsk (city in northeastern Belarus). The girl received an excellent education for that time. For her parents hired a tutor. The only subject to which Sonia and showed no interest, no special ability was the arithmetic. But the situation gradually changed. The study of arithmetic continued to ten years. Sofia later say that this stage was just that laid the foundations of mathematical knowledge. His teacher, Joseph Malevich, was very polite, with great experience and I knew arouse interest in the subject. Clarity to set goals and perseverance were essential skills in the character of Sofia.As the girl came to dominate the subject brilliantly and knew solving complex problems with ease, his teacher before moving on to algebra, let him take a course of two volumes of arithmetic Burdon, who was the fundamental manual at the University of Paris. Seeing the math skills of girls, one of his neighbors advised her father to hire for the girl to Lieutenant Alexander Strannolubski Russian Imperial Navy as a tutor.Although parents were against education too liberal, they said, was getting the girl and tried to provide an education that stricter own for a girl 'good' high Russian society of that time, all attempts failed to confront the restless and passionate character of Sonia. The parents insisted on their commitment and Sofia had to fight for the freedom of education.In the family of Korvin-Krukovski sometimes talks on mathematical topics. In his love for this course has also influenced his uncle, Korvin-Krukovski, whose mathematical reasoning "influenced the girl's fantasy, instilling in her reverence for mathematics as a superior and mysterious science, which opened to the enlightened one wonderful world, inaccessible to other mortals "(from his book 'Memories of Childhood').At that time women were pushed through the desire to receive higher education, which is only taught in some universities abroad, and that for women in Russia there were no colleges or academies, while the men were forbidden to them . To get rid of family paternalism that kept him from joining foreign universities, some girls contracted the so-called 'sham marriages' with men who were sympathetic to the feminist movement and left their wives fictitious free to the education and spiritual development.At age 18 he married Sofia so with Vladimir Kovalevsky (who took his surname), a representative of the progressive intellectual circles, which at that time was engaged in publishing. Later your link fictitious marriage became a 'real'. The details of this story are curious: in fact, was looking for her sham marriage Ana Sofia's older sister, who had a great literary talent. Kovalevsky But when he was introduced to the sisters, he announced he was going to marry the youngest, who was fascinated from the start. Under the influence of his brother, a renowned embryologist, Vladimir began to engage in the natural sciences. Thanks to the classic works that developed after he met Sofia, laid the first foundations of evolutionary paleontology.After the wedding, in the autumn of 1868 the marriage Kovalevsky moved to St. Petersburg where each began to engage in rigorous application to their respective scientific fields. Sofia got permission to attend classes at the Academy of Medicine and Surgery. Kovalevsky subsequently moved abroad. In the spring of 1869 Kovalevskaia was installed at the Heidelberg University in Germany with his friend Y. Lermotova, who was studying chemistry. At first they lived with Anna, the sister of Sofia, which soon went to Paris where he became friends in revolutionary circles. He married Victor Jackler to actively participated in the Paris Commune of 1871.In Heidelberg Kovalevskaia studying mathematics and attended the classes of scientists known as Kirchhoff and Helmholtz, among others. In 1870 he moved to Berlin where he attended lectures by the famous mathematician Karl Weierstrass. But he could not get into college, because then the higher institutions of Berlin women were not admitted. But Weierstrass agreed to give private lessons, which was a great triumph for her. It was very difficult to attract the attention of a prominent scientist like him, whose views on women's education was very conservative. He was against the entry of women in German universities. Soon the incredible ability Kovalevskaia him recognize his great talent to the teacher, who later went on to state: "In regard to mathematics education Kovalevskaia I can assure you that I have had very few students who could catch up with her application, ability, zeal and enthusiasm for science. "In 4 years, in 1874, Weierstrass asked the University of Gottingen Kovalevskaia give the title of Doctor of Philosophy in absentia and without testing. In letters to the teachers of this University, Weierstrass analyzes the three papers presented by his student, each of which, he believed, was enough to get the scientific title. The first of these works, 'On the theory of partial differential equations', corresponds to the bases of the theory of equations and a generalization of investigations of Weierstrass for the same topic, but presenting a more complex case. Before Weierstrass also addressed this question, the famous French mathematician Augustin Cauchy. The theorem proved by Kovalevskaia belongs to classical mathematics and is now formulated as the 'Theorem of Cauchy-Kovalevskaia' core courses in all universities.His second job was for a very interesting cosmological problem: the forms and the stability of Saturn's rings. Here Kovalevskaia carries out investigations of Pierre Simon Laplace believed that the ring is a liquid substance (although currently the most plausible theory is that the ring consists of solid particles).In the third of his works that had appeared for his thesis research on Abelian functions that can be reduced to elliptic integrals.After obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy end of five years 'wanderings' in Sofia. During this period he made several trips, visiting London and also the capital of France during the period of the Commune of Paris, where she and her husband involved in the release from prison of Victor Jacklard.In 1874 Kovalevskaia and her husband returned to Russia and begin their new life in St. Petersburg in which over a long period of time she is away from math classes. The circumstances of Russian life at that time contributed to the isolation of science. Sofia, who had received an excellent education, could not find at home the practical application for his vast knowledge. All I could do is to teach arithmetic to children in schools. Nor could the Russian mathematicians approach based on scientific work that had developed because it belonged to another science. Only long after the Russian scholars such as A. Liapunov or N. Zhkovski are seriously interested in his work on the rotation of a solid body around a fixed point.Kovalevskaia In 1878 he moved with his family to Moscow. In 1879, at the invitation of the great Russian mathematician Chebyshev, presented his paper at a major congress of naturalists, an event that proved to be a success. Motivated by the positive reception of his work, attempted to get permission to sit examinations at the University of Moscow, but it was not granted, even in spite of having the support of many scholars and scientists. In 1881 Sofia decides to return to Berlin with his teacher that will welcome Weierstrass. In Germany Kovalevskaia travels with her daughter, born in 1878. His scientific work from 1881 to 1883 he focused mainly on the refraction of light in a medium lens.In 1883 her husband died tragically Vladimir Kovalevsky who committed suicide in unclear circumstances, but probably related to economic problems. Sofia suffered a deep depression upon learning of the unexpected death of her husband. He then received the proposal of Swedish mathematician Mittag-Leffler to travel to Stockholm to work at the University of that city. At that moment begins the rise of its scientific and literary.His taste for literature and was revealed in the period of his life in St. Petersburg and Moscow when he wrote essays and theatrical reviews in several newspapers. In Stockholm this inclination was maintained through his friendship with the Swedish writer Anne Charlotte Edgren-Leffler, sister of Mittag-Leffler. Beside her Sofia wrote the play 'The struggle for happiness "that was published several times in Russia. Sofia addition Kovalevskaia wrote his autobiography 'Memories of Childhood', a story that chronicles the experiences and feelings of childhood, and describes the problems and ideals of Russian society in the second half of the nineteenth century, among other articles and novels which were published in Swedish, Russian and other languages. In his literary works reveal his restless spirit and depth and breadth of his interests.At Stockholm University he successfully Kovalevskaia 12 courses on various aspects of mathematics.It was in Stockholm where he met Kovalevskaia Maxim Kovalevsky (by an irony of fate the same surname as her husband died), sociologist and professor of legal history at the University of St. Petersburg, who was teaching at the University of Stockholm a season. Although the two already had 40 years, understood that they were meant for each other. He had a decisive influence in the life of Sofia. For example, it was he who persuaded her to write about his childhood memories.In Stockholm Kovalevskaia wrote possibly his most important research on the rotation of a solid body around a fixed point for which he received the Prix Bordin of the Academy of Sciences of Paris (which in this case its endowment increased from 3,000 to 5,000 francs) and later the prize of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.Leonhard Euler (1758) had solved the problem in the case where the turning point with respect to the center of gravity. J. L. Lagrange (1811-1815), of a body of revolution rotating about an axis. But it was not solve the general case. The Prussian Academy of Sciences proposed this problem to a competition in 1855 and 1858, but no one stood. Sofia solved analytically the equations of motion. Proposed a system of six differential equations, time considered as a complex variable and analyzed the cases in which the six functions involved, the three components of angular velocity vector and the three vertical unit vector (acceleration of gravity) were meromorphic functions of time. With this approach the movements studied by Euler and Lagrange become cases. In addition, the Russian scientist found a third case and studied it. This problem was solved analytically.With the advent of Kovalevskaia memories, which were formulated the results of their research, many scientists appeared before a series of questions about the problems of rotating bodies. Many mathematicians and mechanics, both Russian (A. Liapunov, S. Chaplygin, N. Zhukovki and others) and foreign (T.Levi-Civita) began to study this matter. Note that the problem on the rotation of bodies, whose resolution 'usually get out of hand' of scientists who Kovalevskaia considers the "Mermaid of mathematics" is not finally resolved until today. But whatever the outcome of further investigations, the name of Sofia Kovalevskaia always remain linked to this important problem of mechanics.In 1889 the Russian Academy of Sciences appointed Kovalevskaia 'member correspondence. " That's what the letter stated that she received from St. Petersburg in Stockholm: "Our Academy of Sciences has elected as a member, allowing the unprecedented innovation. I am very satisfied, because it has made one of my most ardent and righteous desires. Chebyshev.Kovalevskaia died on February 10, 1891 in Stockholm because of pneumonia that surprised after returning from winter vacation in Italy to Sweden. His happy life with Maxim did not last long. He was only 41 years and was in the prime of his mental strength and his talents. But this woman, the first in the field of exact sciences will always attracting interest not only for their exceptional work, but for his restless nature and artistic talent. The name of Sofia Kovalevskaia, crowned with glory deserved, will always remain in the history of universal science.

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