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Prof. Vladimir Mazya, most distinguished mathematician and more


Prof. Vladimir Mazya was the guest of honor in the 18th international conference on Harmonic Analysis and Partial Deferential Equations held recently at HIT.


From left : Prof. Yakubov, Prof. Shoikhet, Prof. Mazya


Prof. Mazya is hailed as "one of the most distinguished analysts of our time and an outstanding mathematician of worldwide reputation", who strongly influenced the development of mathematical analysis and the theory of partial differential equations.


He is the author and coauthor of some 40 monographs and 500 research papers, and is awarded many prestigious awards including the Celsius Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Sciences in Upsala, and the Senior Whitehead Prize by the London Mathematical Society.


Prof. Mazya is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Swedish Academy of Sciences, as well as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and a foreign member of the National Academy of Georgia.


He was born in St. Petersburg and currently resides in Sweden with his wife Tatyana Shaposhnikova, also a mathematician and their son Michael, a neurologist. His two other children live in Jerusalem : his daughter Gali-Dana Singer, a  bilingual poet and her husband the artist and writer Nekoda Singer and his eldest son Ilya who is a computer professional and a musician with  his wife  Svetlana- ceramic artist.


The cover of "Jacques Hadamard A Universal Mathematician"


Replying to the interviewer questions which took place while visiting Israel, Prof. Mazya said that mathematics is not a frozen and stagnated field, but rather a constantly developing area with new discoveries that are published on a daily basis. Today there are hundred thousand people who deal with mathematics, both pure and applied.


According to him, conferences such as the one that took place at HIT, are the perfect platforms for meetings and updates of scientists who study and research the field mathematics. "Mathematics is infinite and dynamic" says Prof. Mazya. "It has many directions. People from one field do not always understand their colleagues who deal with other fields all within the vast realm of mathematics.


The conferences provide also a common ground for discussions and even paper writing by groups of researchers. If in the 19th century people sat by themselves trying to solve difficult mathematical problems and wrote papers about it- nowadays it is customary to write collaborative articles"

One of his greatest achievements, of which he is extremely proud is the book, which he wrote together with his wife, Tatyana, for 12 years, about their favorite most appreciated mathematician, Jacques Salomon Hadamard, titled: "Jacques Hadamard A Universal Mathematician" this book was awarded the Verdaguer Prize of the French Academy of Sciences and translated into French and Russian.


Besides being a world distinguished mathematician, Prof. Mazya is also a writer of books for children. Prof. Mazya has 5 grandchildren, 2 of which live in Israel and 3 in Sweden.

Children's books by Prof. Mazya

He recalled that during one of his visits to Israel, his granddaughter Eva, then 8 years old, asked him to tell her a story. "It was late in the evening and I promised her to write a story from Sweden. I returned to Sweden and started to send her letters. The first version of the book was in fact a collection of letters to my granddaughter. I've written to her in a personal manner as if I was talking to her. When I've approached a publisher, he said to me that no one is going to buy a collection of personal letters and advised me to avoid this epistolary style.

The result was 3 illustrated children's books written in Russian which dealt with the adventures of a mischievous cow and an even more mischievous grandfather.
The critics said that: On the whole, Grandfather Vova creates a bright and joyful atmosphere of life in fabulous Jerusalem, flavoring the fantastic narrative with a fair amount of soft, deliberately naive humor.

"The Adventures of a Big Cow, the girl Eva, Agent 007 and Their Friends"
"Foolish fairy tales of Grandfather Vova"
"New blockbuster of Grandfather Vova"


The illustrations were made by Nekoda Singer, Mazya's son in law and the three stories, which are fit for adults as well, are waiting to be translated to English and even Hebrew. 

Eva. Illustration by Nekoda Singer

Another book which sheds light of Prof. Mazya's great work and outstanding achievements is Differential Equations of My Young Years (Birkhäuser).

In this fascinating autobiographical book he describes the first thirty years of his life. He starts with the story of his family, speaks about his childhood, high school and university years, describe his formative years as a mathematician. Behind the author's personal recollections, with his own joys, sorrows and hopes, one sees a vivid picture of the time. He speaks warmly about his friends, both outside and inside mathematics.


The author describes the awakening of his passion for mathematics and his early achievements. He mentions a number of mathematicians who influenced his professional life. The book is written in a readable and inviting way sometimes with a touch of humor. It can be of interest for a very broad readership.