Mathematician Aleksandr Samarov is a few years older than SUSU: the university celebrates its eightieth anniversary this year, and Aleksandr is 88. Another wording would be more correct: the scientist’s youth coincided with the youth of the university − the period of establishment of Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute (CPI). Aleksandr Samarov, having played an important role in the history of various Chelyabinsk universities, did not lose touch with CPI − CSTU − SUSU, and in the mid-2000s he returned here as an experienced specialist, the author of numerous textbooks. Today, Aleksandr remembers Abram Katsman, Lev Beliakov and those who stood at the origins of scientific mathematics − at the university, in our city, and in our region.
Aleksandr Samarov is from the city of Nikolaev. The future founder of the mathematical dynasty was born in the family of an engineer and a French teacher. In 1941, the family was evacuated to Stalingrad. During the German invasion, the father remained on the defensive and was in the city until the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, and the mother and son were evacuated by a train going to Omsk, but got off the train in Chelyabinsk, because they had relatives in the South Ural region. In 1943, the family reunited and settled in the Leninsky District of Chelyabinsk, in the KBS Public Utility Construction area, which was then just under construction. In the KBS, although in different houses, Aleksandr has spent almost his entire life until now. There he graduated from school No. 47 (today another school has this number), after which he entered Chelyabinsk Pedagogical Institute. At that time, scientific horizons had not yet opened up to him; after graduating from the institute, Aleksandr Samarov worked for two years as a school mathematics teacher in Yuzhnouralsk, and was not looking for a different fate, when suddenly... Polytechnic Institute invited a talented young mathematician to join its ranks.
In 1958, Aleksandr Samarov was accepted as an assistant in the staff of the Department of Advanced Mathematics. The only department at that time! It was headed by I. Gurianov, who took up the post after B. Litvinenko and N. Senchishcheva.
However, Polytechnic Institute was about to grow. Progress posed new tasks for technical specialists, and in order to train them efficiently, not just teachers were required, but active mathematicians and holders of academic degrees. And in 1960, Aleksandr entered graduate school at the Department of Mathematical Analysis of Kazan State University.
That year, three young mathematicians from Chelyabinsk, Aleksandr Samarov, Rudolf Danilov and Vladimir Zinoviev, went to Kazan, to the university famous for Nikolai Lobachevsky and other names. It was Chelyabinsk mathematician Professor Ivan Barkov, a well-known organizer of scientific creativity among young people, who recommended them to go there. All three promising students successfully passed the entrance exams. Aleksandr Samarov passed examination in his major subject with excellent marks.
A year earlier, Lev Beliakov entered graduate school at Kazan University, who would also play an important role in the fate of CPI.
In Kazan, under the leadership of Boris Gagaev, young Aleksandr Samarov took up integral equations (then a branch of science that was just beginning its journey). Without going into details, we should note that this direction is closely related to the equations of mathematical physics, which Aleksandr had to teach for many years.
Colleagues from the capitals, Moscow and Leningrad, often visited Kazan mathematicians. Young Chelyabinsk graduate students managed to meet the future academician Sergei Nikolsky and Lev Kudriavtsev, who opposed the defence at the Kazan Dissertation Council − the names of both scientists are still familiar from the covers of mathematical analysis textbooks.
Aleksandr Samarov defended his Ph.D. thesis at the session of the Dissertation Council on January 21, 1966. The triumph of the scientist, who achieved the first academic regalia, fell on a mourning date. Not only because of Lenin, on this day our country learned that the famous inventor Sergei Korolev died, and everyone was talking about it.
After a successful defence, Aleksandr returned to Chelyabinsk. Shortly before his return to the Urals, two mathematical departments appeared at Polytechnic Institute. The Department of Advanced Mathematics No. 1 was headed by Candidate of Sciences (Physics and Mathematics) Abram Katsman. The Department of Advanced Mathematics No. 2 was headed by acting head without an academic degree Vasily Lyozin. But just a year later, Lev Beliakov, who had defended his thesis in Kazan, arrived in Chelyabinsk and was unanimously elected as the head of the second department.
Lev Beliakov was a colleague of Aleksandr Samarov not only at Chelyabinsk Pedagogical Institute, but also at graduate school in Kazan, their work on dissertations was supervised by Boris Gagaev. After graduating from school, Lev Beliakov planned to enter Moscow State University; he managed to pass mathematics with excellent marks to Academician A. Kolmogorov, but was not accepted due to the "politically inconsistent essay." After graduating from Pedagogical Institute, he, like Aleksandr Samarov, worked as a teacher, being assigned to the closed town of Zlatoust-20, then as an assistant at CPI for two years, entered postgraduate studies in Kazan a year earlier, but graduated a year later due to family circumstances. Lev Beliakov was artistically inclined, loved classical music, collected records by Chaliapin and other famous opera performers. He headed the department at CPI until the mid-1990s, then he did a lot for his alma mater in terms of pedagogy, but Lev has been gone for more than 20 years.
So, two young mathematics departments gathered young and talented enthusiasts: not only Chelyabinsk residents who completed postgraduate studies in other cities, but also graduates of large mathematical centres of the Union − primarily from Moscow and Novosibirsk. Aleksandr says that Abram Katsman himself personally travelled to universities in search of personnel, was personally received by the rector of Moscow State University I. Petrovsky and asked to send talented specialists to Chelyabinsk. As a result, V. Zaliapin, L. Menikhes, V. Dilman, M. Kipnis and other teachers appeared at the CPI Department of Advanced Mathematics. Many of them were in one way or another connected with mathematical and functional analysis, with differential and integral equations, so a scientific seminar was formed at the department, where young scientists shared their achievements and understood each other.
In the 1970s, Sergei Pinchuk, who became the first mathematician and Doctor of Sciences (Physics and Mathematics) in Chelyabinsk and in the region (before that there were doctors with such a degree, but physicists), and young spouses, graduates of Moscow State University Sergei and Liubov Matveevs also joined the ranks of employees of Polytechnic Institute. Sergei Matveev brought innovative science to the South Ural region − the topology of manifolds. He later moved to Chelyabinsk State University (CSU), became the founder of a large scientific school and an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Liubov Matveeva's works related to analysis, she remained at CPI, and in the late nineties she headed the transformed Department of Mathematical Analysis.
The teacher of the department, Mikhail Reshetov, one of the first candidates of physical and mathematical sciences at CPI, was also an outstanding person. Mikhail was born in 1916 in Central Asia, turned out to be a street child, and went through life school in an orphanage. His comrades loved to play cards, which prompted the boy to memorize complex combinations. Who knows, maybe this was the first step towards his becoming interested in science.
Then there were the workers' faculty, university, and graduate school. Reshetov defended his thesis back in 1949, and his opponent in his defence was the legendary academician Aleksandr Aleksandrov. Dean of the Instrumentation Engineering Faculty Lev Silchenko once conducted a survey among fifth-year graduates: which of the teachers left the most significant mark on their souls? Most of the students named Reshetov, and the dean was shocked: after all, the mathematics course ended in the second year, there were so many more special disciplines after that!
The department included several dozen people, but its head, Abram Katsman, personally took care of everyone. For example, he helped V. Mogilnitsky (by the way, not only a mathematician, but also a musicologist and translator) to get an apartment, he visited sick employees, etc.
The teachers of the department also had to take entrance exams, and then mathematics was required to be passed orally and in writing in almost all CPI specialties. Many years ago, Aleksandr Samarov headed the subject mathematical commission. In that role, he had to meet with the rector of CPI Vitaly Melnikov more than once, who, as Samarov remembers, was strict, but always fair.
But the sky was not always cloudless for the mathematicians of Polytechnic Institute. In the mid-1970s, the Department of Advanced Mathematics No. 1 suffered a crisis, which is described in an article by Vladimir Zaliapin dedicated to Abram Katsman. Some of the department’s mathematicians moved to other universities – CSU and Chelyabinsk Institute of Mechanization and Electrification of Agriculture. This fate was also shared by Aleksandr Samarov, who subsequently and for many years became the head of the Department of Advanced Mathematics at Chelyabinsk Institute of Mechanization and Electrification of Agriculture (later it was renamed Chelyabinsk State Agricultural Engineering University − Chelyabinsk State Agricultural Engineering Academy − South Ural State Agrarian University).
"It was Abram Katsman and Lev Beliakov who laid the foundation, on which the SUSU mathematical community is built today," emphasizes Aleksandr Samarov. "Abram passed away in 1989, but the team he had gathered, the traditions he had laid down, and the spirit that had united like-minded people determine the vector of development of mathematical departments to this day."
However, the story is far from over. In 2003, Aleksandr Samarov resigned from his post as the Head of the Department of Advanced Mathematics at the Agricultural University. He turned 68. At the same time he worked at the local branch of Moscow Automobile Road Institute.
However, it is more important to be needed than to be free. South Ural State University again invited him to its ranks, to his native Department of Mathematical Analysis. His daughter, Candidate of Sciences (Physics and Mathematics) Marina Korytova, worked here, there were like-minded people and friends here.
Aleksandr came back to SUSU and, as it turned out, for almost 20 years! Happy is the one who managed to survive a second youth. And the secret of second youth is simple: work of love and a good environment, and brothers in mind, who able to share goals and evaluate the result.
In 2013, Georgy Sviridiuk invited Aleksandr to the Department of Equations of Mathematical Physics. Several textbooks on this subject were published under the authorship of Samarov.
Now Aleksandr Samarov has been retired for a year now, but still regularly visits SUSU, conducting a methodological seminar for teachers.
Fate protects mathematicians. The above-mentioned academician S. Nikolsky lived to be 107 years old; already over a hundred years old, he continued to speak at conferences and at presentations of the book of his memoirs. Aleksandr Samarov is also working on a book of memoirs. We would like to believe that health and optimism will help him complete this work, in which the history of mathematics in Chelyabinsk and, of course, the history of Polytechnic Institute − SUSU will be reflected as in a mirror.