Aleksandr Dmitrievich Solov’ev (6.09.1927 – 6.04.2001, Moscow)
Aleksandr Dmitrievich was born in a doctor’s family, in Moscow. He studied at the Mechanics and mathematics faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University. He completed his studies in 1951. All of his creative life was related to the faculty: the postgraduate education, teaching as a teaching assistant, an assistant professor from 1958 and a professor since 1975. His supervisor was A. O. Gelfond (1906-1968). Solov’ev defended his thesis in 1955; the topic of the dissertation was “The problem of moments for analytic functions”. He has inherited the outstanding analytical technique and phenomenal mastery of mathematical analysis.
Under the influence of B. V. Gnedenko in the 60’s he became interested in probability theory. He started to develop ideas of mathematical reliability theory together with B. V. Gnedenko and Yu. K. Belyaev. In 1965 they have published the book “Mathematical methods in reliability theory”, which had quickly earned worldwide popularity and was translated to many other languages. Results presented in this and in a series of other works of Aleksandr Dmitrievich brought him the fame as to one of the creators of mathematical reliability theory. In 1972 he has defended the doctoral dissertation on this topic. Together with a group of colleagues he had received the USSR State award for the development of the reliability theory. Being a great teacher he had prepared many wonderful specialists, who work in Russia and abroad. Some of their results have gained international recognition. His lectures on mathematical analysis, asymptotic methods, probability theory and reliability theory became a true school of excellent mathematical mastery for several generations of pure and applied mathematicians.
He was constantly interested in the questions of mathematical history. Largely, this interest was defined under the influence of his teachers (A. O. Gelfond, B. V. Gnedenko and A. N. Kolmogorov), who thought about problems of historical and mathematical nature during all of their creative lives, as well as under the influence of his wife S. S. Petrova , who was a professional historian of mathematics. His works on the history of probability theory and the history of mathematical analysis (theory of finite differences, Laplace transforms, and asymptotic methods) are among the most significant achievements in the field of history of mathematics.
Being a person of inspiring kindness and openness, he was yet very strict when it came to judging importance of scientific results, no matter who the author was, as well as judging behavior of his colleagues. He was more tolerant when it came to the latter though. You could try to convince him, but it was impossible to persuade him to give a reference which did not reflect his inner judgement.
His opinion was important to A. O. Gelfond, B. V. Gnedenko and A. N. Kolmogorov. The outstanding mathematician and teacher, A. D. Solov’ev was one of the brightest persons in the mathematical life of our country in the second half of the XX century.