Mathematical St. Petersburg

All of Russia’s science began on Vasilievsky Island in St. Petersburg. On January 28 (February 8) 1724, by the decree of Emperor Peter I the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences was founded. In 1825 Peter I issued a decree “On the invitation of scientists to the Russian Academy of Sciences and on the issuance of those who wish to go to Russia, the necessary benefits”. The Academy was first located on the Petrograd side, the Kunstkamera (cabinet of rarities) and the library, also founded by Peter I, were first in the Kikin Chambers (now 9, Stavropolskaya Street). But later Vasilievsky Island became the center of scientific and educational institutions.

In 1783–1789 according to the project of the architect Giacomo Quarenghi, who began working in St. Petersburg in 1779, the main building of the Academy of Sciences (University embankment, 5) was built on the Neva River near Kunstkamera (Universitetskaya embankment 3). It was one of the first works of an architect in Russia. Now in this building is the St. Petersburg Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

2The neighboring Kunstkamera building on University Embankment 3\ also belonged to the Academy of Sciences. Museum collections occupied the eastern wing of the building, in the middle part was the Anatomical Theater, in the tower – the Gottorp Globe (3.11 m in diameter) and observatory. In addition, it housed the library of the Academy of Sciences, two printing houses and various workshops.


Next to the Academy of Sciences is the building of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Archive stores manuscript documents of the 18th-20th centuries, including the manuscripts of Euler, Kepler and personal archives of academicians. Also on Vasilyevsky Island there is St. Petersburg University, where many famous mathematicians worked (P.L. Chebyshev taught in the University for 35 years), the Library of the Academy of Sciences, and the Mining University Mining University – the first technical university in Russia, founded in 1773.



Daniel Bernoulli together with his brother Nikolai came to Saint-Petersburg in 1725 by invitation of Peter I. Daniel studied medicine, but then goes to the department of mathematics (1728), which became vacant after the death of his brother Nikolai. The moment for arrival was extremely unfortunate – Peter I passed away, the confusion began. The foreigners invited to the Academy partially dispersed, but Daniel stayed and even persuaded his friend Euler to come to Saint-Petersburg. After the death of Empress Catherine I, Daniel returned to Basel in 1733. He remained an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy, were he published 47 of the 75 works. During his stay in Russia, he published “Comments on recurrence sequences” (1728) and prepared his main work: the monograph “Hydrodynamics” (published in 1738).

Euler arrived in St. Petersburg on May 13, 1727 (according to the old style). In 1733, a week before his marriage to Katharina Gsell, he acquired the ownership of a small piece of land on the 10th line of Vasilyevsky Island. Euler built a wooden house on this site, which has not survived to our time. Returning to Russia on July 17, 1766, at the invitation of Catherine II, Euler bought a stone-built two-story house on the embankment ofthe Big Neva. After Euler died, another floor was built on the house, now a secondary school is located in this building. Euler’s ashes rest in the Lazarevsky cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, near the grave of M.V. Lomonosov

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On the 7th line of Vasilievsky Island there is a residential building of academicians, on which 29 memorial plaques are now placed and 30 still need to be installed. Here at different times lived mathematicians and academicians M.V. Ostrogradsky, P.L. Chebyshev, A.M. Lyapunov, A.A. Markov, V.A. Steklov. For the abundance of plaques D.S. Likhachev called this house the “Indian Tomb”.


Georg Ferdinand Louis (Ludwig) Philip Cantor was born in St. Petersburg on March 3 (February 19 according to the old style) in 1845 in the house of the merchant Tranchel. In the same house P.L. Chebyshev, russian mathematician and mechanic, founder of the St. Petersburg School of Mathematics, academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, settled in 1850. When Cantor was 11 years old, his family moved from St. Petersburg to Germany.

Near the Saint-Petersburg University there is a small residential building, owned by a surveyor, a member of the Imperial Geographical Society F.F. Schubert (1789–1865). In this house lived S.V. Kovalevskaya (1850-1891), the first woman – a professor of mathematics and the granddaughter of F.F. Schubert.


The list of famous mathematicians associated with St. Petersburg from the website of  Saint-Petersburg Mathematical Society

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