The Life of a Great Mathematician. (Nina Karlovna Bari)

Nina Karlovna Bari is a great example of a woman who contributed to mathematics. Nina Bari provided the advancement of the theory of trigonometry. She dedicated her life to solving theory functions. Once Bari solved many questions regarding trigonometric series, she shared her findings with many students and colleagues through teaching, lecturing, and giving seminars.

On November 19, 1901, Nina Karlovna Bari was born in Moscow, Russia. She was a daughter to Doctor Karl Adolfovich and Olga Eduardovna Bari. Nothing is recorded about Nina’s childhood and very little is known about her high school years. She attended a private high school for girls called L. O. Vyazemska’s. When she was studying in high school she showed a great potential in mathematics. By 1918 she has passed the high school graduation examination that was usually given for high school boys. (Soublis)

Once she finished high school she attended Moscow State University. Originally, Moscow State was a university “exclusively for men.” (Campbell and Grinstein) However, after the Revolution, Moscow State University became available for men and women alike. Nina Bari was the first woman to enroll in it.

During her time at Moscow State University, she was involved with a group called the “Luzitania.” (Soublis) The group was named after its leader Nikolai Nikolaevich Luzin. Luzin worked at Moscow State University as Professor of Pure Mathematics. Luzin’s area of specialty was the foundation of mathematics and measure theory. While at Moscow State, he formed a research group, which many of the students labeled “Luzitania.” The group included many impressive students that included Aleksandrov, Suslin, Menshov, Khinchin, Urysohn, Kolmogorov, and also Bari. This group mainly studied function theory because that was all Luzin preferred. While Bari was a member of the Luzitania, she discovered the uniqueness of the trigonometric series. This was the birth to her life’s quest. She spent the rest of her life focused on trigonometric series. (O’Connor and Robertson)

Since Bari finished college early in 1921, she was the first woman to graduate from Moscow State University. After college, Bari went into teaching. From 1921-1925, Nina Bari taught at the Moscow Forestry Institute. Still wanting more, Bari taught at the Sverdlov Communist Institute for one year and the Moscow Polytechnic Institute for two years while maintaining her original job at Moscow Forestry Institute. A short while after, Moscow State University opened a Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics. Bari kept teaching, but she also became one of the first researchers at Moscow State University. She focused on the analysis of various trigonometric series. The second year after she graduated, she presented the findings of her research to the Moscow Mathematical Society. She again was the first woman to give a presentation to the Moscow Mathematical Society. (Campbell and Grinstein pg 6-7)

Keeping with her original love for trigonometric series, Bari based her thesis topic on the theory of trigonometric series. By 1926, Bari defended her thesis, which revealed many solutions to complicated problems of the trigonometric series. From this great achievement, she received the Glavnauk Prize. “Glavnauk was the acronym for the Central Administration of Scientific, Scholarly, Artistic and Museum Institutions, 1922-1930.” (Campbell and Grinstein pg7) After obtaining her Ph. D, Nina Bari traveled throughout the world attending seminars and lectures. Through many lectures, seminars, and publications of her own work, Bari created a reputation as a great mathematician. Bari was the leading mathematician in the theory of functions of a real variable and also received the degree of Doctor of the Physical-Mathematical Sciences. By 1950, Bari kept her position as a full professor at Moscow State University. However, she still gave lectures and attended some mathematical events such as the International Congress of Mathematicians in Edinburgh and presented on the state of the theory of trigonometric series at the Third All-Union Congress in Moscow. (Campbell and Grinstein pg 8)

Though her love for the theory of functions remained strong, Nina had other interests as well such as art, music, and ballet. But Bari’s main interest would be her love for the sport of hiking. She enjoyed climbing in the mountains with her husband, Viktor Vladmirovich Nemytski, who shared both the love of mathematics and hiking in the mountains. (O’Connor and Robertson) Viktor, also a mathematician, was a Moscow State University graduate. He ultimately became a professor at Moscow State University too. The Caucasus, Altai, Lamir are just some of the mountains that Viktor and Nina hiked across. (Campbell and Grinstein pg 8-9)

In 1961 on July 12, Nina Bari’s life ended. Her death was reported a tragic accident where she fell in front of a train in the Moscow Metro. Her former friend and colleague, P. L. Ul’yanov, wrote:

“The ultimate death of N. K. Bari is a great loss for Soviet mathematics and a great misfortune for all who know her. The image of Bari as a lively, straightforward person with an inexhaustible reserve of cheerfulness will remain forever in the hearts of all who knew her. (Campbell and Grinstein pg 9)”

Nina Karlovna Bari was a woman mathematician who lived a life full of accomplishments. She dedicated her life to the theory of trigonometric series. She has studied, analyzed, and done extensive research on trigonometric series that assisted her in solving many problems that were unanswered in the early 1900s. Not only has Nina enriched her life through the dedication for mathematics, but she has also shared with many others her breakthroughs on the theory of functions. Nina Karlovna Bari, a woman mathematician, gained much respect from all mathematicians of her time and will not easily be forgotten for her remarkable work.

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