Monday, 4 July 2016

Analyst Fichtenholz (Фихтенгольц) Portrait, From His Middle Years

Grigorii Mikhailovich Fichtenholz  (1888-1959), leader of the "Leningrad School" in analysis of real and complex univariate and multivariate functions, as discussed in the final paragraph of the "Is Science Doomed?" essay. This haunting photograph is taken, with gratitude, from the Russian-language Wikipedia biography. The biography is reachable by first pointing the browser to and then clicking on the left-margin (Cyrically lettered) "Russkii" language link. - A biography at adds detail: "Fikhtengol'ts liked all forms of pedagogical activities and tried to devote the most part of his forces to teaching. He was one of the organizers of the Pedagogical Institute. He worked much with schoolchildren, gave them lectures. In the1930s he headed the work on school syllabuses. It was Fikhtengol'ts who initiated, in 1934, the first mathematical olympiad in the USSR. Fikhtengol'ts is most famous for his course of analysis that he gave at the University for more than thirty years. The books based on this course are well known all over the world. The three-volume treatise A Course of Differential and Integral Calculus  is an excellent encyclopedia of the mathematical analysis. But however good are these books, they do not give a complete idea of their author's pedagogical skill. It will not be an exaggeration to say that each of his lectures, for students, schoolchildren or teachers, was a pedagogical masterpiece. By the end of his lecture, even the blackboard looked like a piece of art. - Brilliant lectures of Fikhtengol'ts concealed a lot of work. After forty years of teaching he still spent many hours on preparing his lectures, on thinking over each word. He had the same attitude to examinations. Fikhtengol'ts was an excellent examiner, both severe and friendly. He listened intently to a student, without missing a word, however incoherent and confused was the answer. Extraordinary conscientiousness, efficiency and a sense of responsibility complemented  his talent and were his most characteristic features. "

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