Aleksei Krylov

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krylov, Aleksei Nikolaevich


Born Aug. 3 (13), 1863, in the village of Visiaga, Simbirsk Province; died Oct. 26, 1945, in Leningrad. Soviet scientist in shipbuilding, mechanics, and mathematics; member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1916; corresponding member, 1914). Hero of Socialist Labor (1943).

After graduating from the Naval School in 1884, Krylov was assigned to the compass department of the Main Hydrographic Administration, where he conducted his first scientific work on compass deviation. He graduated from the shipbuilding subdepartment of the Naval Academy in 1890, and his subsequent work was mainly concerned with naval architecture. For almost 50 years, beginning in 1890, he taught at the Naval Academy and also at the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) Polytechnic Institute and other institutions of higher education. He wrote a number of scientific courses that were original scientific contributions of great practical importance. In 1900 he became the director of the Ship Model Testing Basin; from 1908 to 1910 he was chief shipbuilding inspector and the chairman of the Naval Technical Committee. From 1910 to 1917 he was a consultant for the Metallicheskii and Putilov works on all shipbuilding questions. Krylov took an active part in the design and construction of Russian battleships of the Sevastopol’ class and introduced into shipbuilding a number of innovations that were later applied to practical naval shipbuilding. In 1916 he became a director of the Central Physics Observatory and head of the Main Military Weather Bureau, and in 1917, director of the Physics Laboratory (later the Physics Institute) of the Academy of Sciences. In 1919 he was made president of the Naval Academy, and he took part in its reorganization and in developing its bylaws. From 1921 to 1927 he was abroad as a member of a committee for reestablishing scientific contacts and solving practical problems of the national economy associated with the strengthening of maritime and rail transportation. In 1927 he returned to teaching at the Naval Academy and became the director of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He also took an active part in solving fundamental engineering problems concerning naval and civil shipbuilding in the USSR.

Krylov’s works are devoted to naval architecture and the theory of magnetic and gyroscopic compasses, artillery, and mathematics. He developed rational methods and approaches, which have become classical, for computing the main characteristics of a ship, stability and buoyancy. He also developed a theory of pitching and methods for determining a ship’s behavior in the general case of motion at an angle to the direction of motion of the waves. Krylov’s work on the unsinkability of ships, particularly the unsinkability tables that he compiled, was of great practical importance. He was also the author of outstanding works on the structural mechanics of ships. He began work on dynamic problems in shipbuilding, formulated a theory of ship vibrations, and proposed an original method of design calculations for elastically supported beams that is of great importance not only for computation of the hulls of ships but also for the development of structural mechanics as a whole. From 1938 to 1940, Krylov published a series of works in which he presented a complete treatment of the deviation of the magnetic compass, studied problems in the theory of gyroscopic compasses, and developed a theory of the influence of pitching and rolling on compass readings (State Prize of the USSR, 1941).

Krylov’s work on the theory of shipbuilding made him known worldwide. His work in mathematics and mechanics is also of great value. He solved a number of problems concerning rational organization of numerical computations, substantiated a method for improving the convergence of trigonometric series, and proposed a method for solving the secular equation (1931). He built the first machine in Russia for integrating differential equations (1904) and developed a number of important naval and artillery instruments. Krylov conducted important research on the vibration of artillery barrels and on exterior ballistics. His studies on the heritage of such classic figures in science as I. Newton, L. Euler, and K. Gauss are of lasting value. He also wrote colorful articles describing the life and work of P. L. Chebyshev, G. Lagrange, and Newton. He was awarded three Orders of Lenin.


Sobr. trudov, vols. 1–12. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936–56.
Izbr. trudy. Leningrad, 1958. (With bibliography.)


Luchininov, S. T. A. N. Krylov: Vydaiushchiisia korablestroitel’, matematik i pedagog. Moscow, 1959.
Trudy In-ta istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki AN SSSR, vol. 15. Moscow, 1956. (Volume dedicated to Krylov.)
Khanovich, I. G. Akademik Aleksei Nikolaevich Krylov. Leningrad, 1967.
Shtraikh, S. Ia. Aleksei Nikolaevich Krylov: Ocherk zhizni i deiatel’nosti. Moscow, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.