Taught first by her father, who became a victim of the NKVD in 1937, Ladyzhenskaya eventually studied at the University of Moscow under Gel’fand, Petrovskii, Tikhonov, and Sobolev, who supervised her Ph.D. from Leningrad. She headed the Department of Mathematical Physics at the Steklov Institute, staying even after 1989 when she could have emigrated. In her major field of PDEs, she made fundamental contributions, for instance to the theory of initial boundary value problems for hyperbolic equations. She developed the functional-analytic treatment of nonlinear stationary problems by Leray-Schauder degree theory. She pioneered the theory of attractors for dissipative equations, and obtained the key result of global unique solvability of the initial boundary problem for the two-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation. She and her coauthors completed the solution to Hilbert’s Nineteenth Problem. She mixed with major Russian cultural figures, was president of the Mathematical Society of St. Petersburg, and received many prizes and honorary degrees from institutions worldwide.
Image credit: The photo of O.A. Ladyzhenskaya is taken from Vol. II Nonlinear Problems in Mathematical Physics and Related Topics in Honor of Professor O.A. Ladyzhenskaya, International Mathematical Series, Vol. 2, published by Springer and Tamara Rozhkovskaya and is reproduced here with the permission of the publishers.
This photo and biography was featured on MAA's Women of Mathematics poster.