In Memoriam
Boris B. Venkov (1934 2011)
Boris Borisovich Venkov passed away on November 10, 2011, just 5 days before
his 77th birthday. He was born in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) in 1934. His
father was the mathematician Boris Alekseevich Venkov, with whom he wrote two
joint articles in 1962/1963. B. B. Venkov obtained his Ph.D. in 1952 under the
direction of D. K. Faddeev, and since 1957 was a member of the Steklov Institute
of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union (later Russia) in St.
Petersburg, where he became a Professor and Leading Research Fellow. After early
work in the cohomology theory of finite groups, the study of lattices in Euclidean
spaces became a central part of his work. One of his famous achievements in
this subject was the introduction of spherical harmonic polynomials as a tool for
the classification of even unimodular Euclidean lattices. During the past 30 years
Venkov created a bridge between the theory of spherical designs and the theory of
lattices in Euclidean spaces resulting in his very fruitful definition of strongly perfect
lattices. In the years after 1990 he spent a great part of his mathematical life visiting
various universities, mostly in France, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland, where he
collaborated with several researchers. He was always full of original ideas and
always eager to share and discuss them with others, thus inspiring many younger
scientists.
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