Google Doodle celebrates mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya
Thursday’s Google Doodle looks a woman whose math teacher father nurtured her brilliance before the winds of political unrest snatched him away.
Olga Ladyzhenskaya was born March 7, 1922 in Kologriv, a small town in western Russia, and spent her early years being inspired with a love of mathematics by her father Aleksandr.
She lost him as a teenager in 1937, when he was arrested by Soviet authorities, declared an “enemy of the state” and killed. Her family name stopped her from getting into Leningrad State University (now Saint Petersburg State University) two years later, but she ultimately got into Moscow University in 1943.
After earning her PhD, Ladyzhenskaya went on to lead the Laboratory of Mathematical Physics at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow and wrote more than 250 papers.
She’s best known for her work on fluid dynamics of the Navier–Stokes equations — which describe the motion of viscous substances — and partial differential equations.
Ladyzhenskaya’s contributions to the field earned her the Lomonosov Gold Medal by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002. She died on Jan. 12, 2004, aged 81.