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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Somov, Osip(Iosif) Ivanovich


Born June 1 (13), 1815, in the village of Otrada, Klin District, Moscow Province; died Apr. 26 (May 8), 1876, in St. Petersburg. Russian mathematician and engineer. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1862).

Somov graduated from Moscow University in 1835. He became a professor at the University of St. Petersburg in 1847 and, in addition, taught at the Institute of the Corps of Railroad Engineers from 1848 to 1869 and at the Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers from 1849 to 1862.

Somov’s principal works deal with theoretical mechanics and mathematical analysis. His research was characterized by the application of results obtained in analytic mechanics to problems in geometry. He introduced the concept of higher-order accelerations and used it in studying a number of properties of curves and surfaces. Somov wrote several papers on the theory of elliptic functions and its applications in mechanics. He derived a complete solution for the problem of the rotation of a rigid body about a fixed point in the Euler-Poinsot and Lagrange-Poisson cases. Somov also did important work on systems characterized by small oscillations about a position of stable equilibrium. His textbook Theoretical Mechanics (parts 1-2, 1872-77) was translated into German in 1878.

Somov received the Demidov Prize in 1838,1847, and 1851.


Zolotarev, E. I. “Ob uchenykh trudakh akademika O. I. Somova.” Zapiski imp. AN, 1878, vol. 31, pp. 248–66. (Contains bibliography.)
Geronimus, la. L. Ocherki o rabotakh korifeev russkoi mekhaniki. Moscow, 1952. (Contains bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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