Biography of Academician A.A. Samarskii

Alexander Andreyevich Samarskii was born on February 19, 1919 in the village of Novo-Ivanovskoye of Amvrosievsky district of the Donetsk region of Ukrane in a large peasant family. 

At one year old, Alexander lost his mother, and in the early 1930s, his father - a gifted and hard-working self-taught peasant, who had learned many crafts, whom the neighbors called "local Michurin" - was forced, to avoid dispossession, to leave an established farming and go with his family to the city of Donetsk and then to Taganrog. 

The father, Andrey Efimovich Samarskii, from a young age educated the son of love of hard work, persistence in achieving the goal, a taste for creative solutions. Sometimes the father would say to his friends about his youngest son, "Shura will become a professor." Therefore, taking care of his future, he took the prudent, although difficult decision - after moving to the city, Alexander Andreevich and father lived apart. During these years, Alexander lived with his older sister, Anastasia Andreevna Samarskaya. 

At 14 years of age, Alexander Andreyevich began attending school named after Anton Chekhov in Taganrog - the school, where at one time the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov studied. Perhaps this is why Alexander Andreyevich had a lifetime taste for literature. In 1936 he graduated with honors from the school. A.A. Samarskii hesitated for a long time - whether to enter the famous Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History or no less famous Faculty of Physics at the Moscow State University. 

First, Alexander wanted to enter the literature one, as in his school thirst for literature was in all students, and he even wrote plays. But under the influence of the insistent demands of teachers of physics and mathematics the choice was made in favor of physics. Devoid of any material support, not having any friends and family in Moscow, Alexander Andreyevich enthusiastically began to study. The study had to be interrupted for a year in order to earn a little funds from tutoring for the purchase of food and any tolerable clothing. In 1939 A.A.Samarskii began working in a scientific seminar of A.N. Tikhonov, and this collaboration of two outstanding scientists lasted for many decades. 

On June 22, 1941, the Great Patriotic War began. Alexander Andreyevich could get a reservation, but after the end of the 4th year of studying, on July 6, 1941, along with many of his peers he volunteered for the 8th Krasnopresnenskaya division of the national militia. Despite the lack of any combat skills and strong myopia, he had the opportunity to participate in the battles for the 82 hardest days of the war. The first test was on October 2 at Yelnia then - continuous, bloody battles at Vyazma, Naro-Fominsk, Pavlovsk Sloboda (at that time, being a part of one of the reconnaissance companies of the 108th Infantry Division). The atmosphere of those critical weeks and months can fully convey just witnesses. By his own admission, Alexander Andreyevich "was ready to go on a firing port." 

Serious wounds could not be avoided - during the Moscow offense, on December 12, 1941, being in the scout behind the enemy lines, A.A.Samarskii hit a land mine; the comrades endured the miraculously surviving at the hands to the front line. This was followed by a nine-month treatment and many operations at the hospitals in Moscow, Gorky, Krasnoyarsk, Minusinsk. More than 30 fragments of the land mine were recovered, 8 remained in the body. 

In autumn of 1942 A.A.Samarskii was discharged from the hospital on crutches. His family remained in the occupied Taganrog, the University was evacuated from Moscow to Ashgabat. A.A.Samarskii began working as a math teacher in a school on a gold mine "Communar" in Shirinsk district of Krasnoyarsk Region and worked there for more than a year. Alexander Andreyevich could stay in Siberia for the rest of his life but his friend, who studied at the Military Academy and with whom they corresponded, went to the University and arranged a request for the talented student to study in Moscow. 

In 1943, Alexander Andreyevich was again engaged with A.N. Tikhonov and graduated from the Physics Department in 1945. For the graduate work he was immediately offered the title of candidate of sciences (Ph.D.), but Tikhonov reasonably objected that, as being from out of town, Alexander immediately had to leave Moscow, while the study in the post-graduate school would allow another 3 years to be at the University. 

In 1946, A.A. Samarkii joined the Communist Party. 

In 1948 he defended his Ph.D. thesis. Academician I.G. Petrovskii was the Scientific Reviewer. At this point, Alexander Andreyevich had already tried himself in different areas and had about 20 published works, not related to the main subject of the dissertation (the dynamics of sorption and desorption of gases, the theory of radio waveguides, etc.). The dissertation itself was small, about 20 pages of introduction and 20 of content, and was about the study of the perturbation of the discrete spectrum of the Laplace operator with the change of the boundary. This problem arose in connection with some models of the atom. A.A. Samarskii recalled that once he was looking through old magazines and found an article by Landau and young Ivanenko. Alexander Andreyevich was able to prove that not all of their conclusions were correct and this became his dissertation. 

On June 10, 1948, the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No.1990-774ss/op signed by Stalin was issued. According to this decree, A.A. Samarskii got a private room, and A.D. Sakharov got the same. A.A. Samarskii began working in the lab No. 8 of the Geophysical expedition at the Geophysical Institute of the Academy of Sciences. The laboratory was established on July 10, 1948, with A.N. Tikhonov as the head and A.A. Samarskii as a leading expert. There were also about 30 young women involved - the graduates of the geodesic institute, who were performing calculations on the adding machines. In parallel, Alexander Andreevich became a staff lecturer at the Chair of Mathematics at the Moscow State University and began teaching mathematical physics. There he worked until 1970, when he moved to the newly created Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics. 

The main task of the group of A.N. Tikhonov was the calculation of the atomic bomb in a very short period of time - about a year. Initially, they calculated the average model of the atomic explosion. Then A.N. Tikhonov proposed a construction of the model and the calculation of the power of the atomic bomb using complete models. The problem of solving partial differential equations at the time was considered of utmost complexity. They had no experience of such calculations, and the theory of difference schemes was virtually nonexistent. Therefore, the direct calculation of the nuclear explosion was considered by the experts as unrealistic. L.D. Landau called this settlement, if it was carried out, a scientific feat. A.N. Tikhonov suggested to apply the method of finite differences to the complete system of partial differential equations. A.A. Samarskii figured out how to make parallelization between the solver-girls, distributing approximately ten equations for each. 

As a result, the time for solution of several hundreds of equations has been reduced by 15 times and was performed during 2 months. The calculations were carried out at the time by "Felix" adding machines and electromechanical calculators "Mercedes". By the time of the first test of the bomb, there were already the first results of the calculations and the differences amounted to only 30%, and the error was further reduced to 10%. After the calculation of the atomic bomb, A.A. Samarskii was involved in the calculations of the thermonuclear tests which were held in 1953. Alexander Andreyevich actively participated in the "atomic project" until about 1980, and his total number of classified papers in this area was about 500. 

In 1951, the first edition of the joint with A.N. Tikhonov textbook "Equations of mathematical physics" was printed. It endured many editions and was translated into 13 languages, becoming one of the most widely read publications in its field. 

In 1953, the Institute of Applied Mathematics of USSR Academy of Sciences was created. The director was Academician M.V. Keldysh, the deputy director A.N. Tikhonov and A.A. Samarskii became the head of a department. Also A.A. Samarskii continued to teach at Moscow State University. At this time, there was a transition from manual adding machines to the use of first instance in the USSR computer "Strela" set in the Institute of Applied Mathematics. 

In 1954, A.A. Samarskii was awarded the Stalin Prize. 

In 1957, A.A. Samarskii became a Doctor of Science. In contrast to the Ph.D. thesis, the Doctoral dissertation was much larger, about 800 pages, and it laid the foundations for the modern theory of difference schemes. A.D. Sakharov was one of the scientific reviewers. In 1958, A.A. Samarskii was awarded the title of Professor. In 1962, he was awarded the Lenin Prize, and in 1966 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He led a Chair at the Moscow State University and the Moscow Physical-Technical University. In 1976, A.A. Samarskii was elected an Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1979, he was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor. 

During this period, A.A. Samarskii was involved with his students in the problems of laser fusion, magnetic and radiation gas dynamics, creating of high-power lasers, aerodynamics, problems of nuclear energy, plasma physics and many other studies. In these studies, a methodology of computing experiment "model-algorithm-program" was created.

In 1982, A.A. Samarskii became the head of the chair of computational methods in the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics. In 1986, A.A. Samarskii began the development of national programs for the development and application of methods of mathematical modeling in science and the economy. In the same year he organized the National Center of Mathematical Modeling and became its director. 

In 1989, A.A. Samarskii became the chief editor of the new journal "Mathematical modeling". In addition, Alexander Andreyevich was a member of the editorial boards of six other journals (Zh. of Advances of Mathematical Sciences, and others.) In 1990, the National Center for Mathematical Modelling has been transformed into the country's first Institute for Mathematical Modelling. A.A. Samarskii was its director from 1990 to 1998. In 1999, A.A. Samarskii was awarded the State Prize for his work on the theory of difference schemes. 

On February 11, 2008, A.A. Samarskii died after a long and serious illness, and was buried at the Troekurov cemetery in Moscow.