Born Mar. 31 (Apr. 12), 1847, in St. Petersburg; died there July 7 (19), 1878. Russian mathematician.
Zolotarev graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1867. In 1876 he became a professor there and an adjunct at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Beginning in 1870, with A. N. Korkin, he worked on the problem of the minima of positive quadratic forms; they gave an exhaustive solution to the problem for the number of variables n equals 4 or 5. Simultaneously Zolotarev developed his theory of the divisibility of integral algebraic numbers, which he expounded in the doctoral dissertation The Theory of Integral Complex Numbers and Its Application to the Integral Calculus (1874). He extended his theory to the case of any algebraic field. The trend of his works, which subsequently proved to be one of the principal ones in the theory of algebraic numbers, led to the creation of the so-called p-adic numbers. Zolotarev also solved some particular problems in the theory of the best approximation to functions.