**History of Mathematics**

Volume: 43;
2016;
416 pp;
Hardcover

MSC: Primary 01;

Print ISBN: 978-1-4704-2608-8

Product Code: HMATH/43

List Price: $59.00

Individual Member Price: $47.20

**Electronic ISBN: 978-1-4704-2936-2
Product Code: HMATH/43.E**

List Price: $59.00

Individual Member Price: $47.20

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#### Supplemental Materials

# The Case of Academician Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin

Share this page *Edited by *
*Sergei S. Demidov; Boris V. Lëvshin*

Translated by Roger Cooke

In the summer of 1936, a time of ongoing political purges in
the USSR, Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin was charged with plagiarism,
academic dishonesty and other “anti-Soviet” activities in
the pages of Pravda. Luzin, an eminent mathematician and leader of the
Soviet school of mathematics, found himself at the center of two
simultaneous conflicts—one, a generational rift between rising young
mathematicians and the pre-revolutionary academic establishment, and
the other, Stalins ongoing campaign to “Sovietize” science in the
USSR, placing it in the service of his regime and ending the practice
of publication in Western journals.

Ultimately, for reasons that may not be fully understood even now,
Luzin was not declared an “enemy of the people”, which
would have led to his immediate arrest. After making a statement of
public repentance, he escaped with a relatively mild reprimand,
humiliated and frightened, but alive. Nevertheless, his case can be
viewed as a precursor to those of other scholars, such as Kravchuck
and Vavilov, who would later fall victim to Stalins purges.

This is the first English translation of a Russian volume that
appeared in 2001. It contains an introductory section, written by
Sergei Demidov, the leading expert in the history of Soviet
mathematics, which examines the Luzin case and describes the Soviet
mathematical scene of the period. Also included are annotated
transcripts of the five meetings of the Academy of Sciences commission
charged with investigating the accusations against Luzin, and a
selection of contemporary articles from the Soviet press. Together
these documents form a fascinating picture of one of the darkest
episodes in the history of Soviet mathematics.

#### Readership

Undergraduate and graduate students and research mathematicians interested in history.

#### Reviews & Endorsements

It is wonderful to have this book available in English translation. “The Case of Academician Luzin” is a highly significant event in the history of Soviet mathematics; with its presentation of original sources, together with ample commentary, this book will now convey the full import of this event to a new readership.

-- Christopher Hollings, Oxford University, author of “Mathematics across the Iron Curtain”

The translation into English of “The Case of Academician Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin” is an important contribution toward the understanding of the fate of a great mathematician in Stalin's time. We learn here the details of how he was judged in a political trial. I would like to immodestly suggest that reading this source together with Jean-Michel Kantor's and my recent book “Naming Infinity” will clarify an episode in both the history of mathematics and of the Soviet Union that has long mystified observers.

-- Loren Graham, Professor Emeritus of the history of science, MIT and Harvard

Included within its 363 pages is an outline of the innovatory nature of Russian mathematics in the first 30 years of the 20th century. The core of the book consists of the minutes of the meetings of the five-day hearing during which Luzin was virtually fighting for his life. Indeed, the wealth of documentary evidence provided by the authors creates the impression that they have left no stone unturned in their quest to reveal the awful machinations that beset Nikolai Luzin in 1936. Read all about it in this gripping account of a wrongly persecuted mathematician.

-- P. N. Ruane, MAA

#### Table of Contents

# Table of Contents

## The Case of Academician Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin

- Cover Cover11
- Frontispiece ii3
- Title page iii4
- Copyright iv5
- Contents v6
- Translator’s preface ix10
- Preface to the English translation xiii14
- The Soviet Mathematical School xix20
- Photo Credits xxxi32
- Introduction 134
- The case of academician Luzin in the collective memory of the scientific community 336
- Minutes of the meetings of the USSR Academy of Sciences Commission in the case of academician Luzin 4982
- Minutes, 7 July 5184
- Minutes, 9 July 81114
- Minutes, 11 July 125158
- Minutes, 13 July 179212
- Minutes, 15 July 203236
- Commentaries on the minutes of the meetings of the USSR Academy of Sciences Commission in the case of academician Luzin 215248
- Introduction to commentaries 217250
- Commentary, 7 July 1936 221254
- Commentary, 9 July 1936 231264
- Commentary, 11 July 1936 245278
- Commentary, 13 July 1936 255288
- Commentary, 15 July 1936 261294
- Literature 265298
- Appendices 269302
- Introduction to appendices 271304
- A pleasant disillusionment 275308
- Reply to academician N. Luzin 277310
- Enemies wearing a Soviet mask 279312
- Letter from L. Z. Mekhlis, editor of Pravda, to the Central Committee, 3 July 1936 283316
- Resolution concerning the articles “Response to academician Luzin” and “Enemies wearing a Soviet mask” in Pravda 285318
- Draft of the proposal of the special session of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 4 July 1936 287320
- Letter from P. L. Kapitsa to Molotov, 6 July 1936 289322
- Excerpt from the minutes of the Presidum meeting of 7 July 1936 293326
- Letters from V. I. Vernadskii and N. V. Nasonov to the Academy of Sciences Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences and to academicians A. E. Fersman and N. P. Gorbunov in support of academician Luzin 295328
- Letter from academician N. N. Luzin to the Central Committee of the Communist Party 7 July 1936 297330
- Traditions of servility 301334
- Resolution of the General Assembly of Scientists of the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics and Institutes of Mathematics, Mechanics, and Astronomy at Moscow University 305338
- Letter from Luzin to an undetermined addressee, 11 July 1936 313346
- Enemies wearing a Soviet mask 317350
- The Leningrad scholars respond 319352
- Letter from L. Z. Mekhlis, editor of Pravda, to Stalin and Molotov, 14 July 1936 321354
- The enemy exposed 323356
- Luzin’s statement to the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, 14 July 1936 327360
- Academician Gubkin on so-called academician Luzin 329362
- The Belarus scholars on the exposed enemy Luzin 331364
- The scholarly community condemns enemies wearing a Soviet mask 333366
- Note accompanying the draft of the findings of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences regarding academician N. N. Luzin, 25 July 1936 337370
- Conclusion of the Commission 339372
- On academician N. N. Luzin. Findings of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 5 August 1936 341374
- To rid academia of Luzinism 343376
- Glossary of Soviet terms and people 353386
- Subject index 365398
- Name index 371404
- Back Cover Back Cover1410