BESICOVITCH, ABRAM SAMOILOVITCH


BESICOVITCH, ABRAM SAMOILOVITCH
BESICOVITCH, ABRAM SAMOILOVITCH (1891–1970), mathematician. Besicovitch was descended from a Karaite family. He began his academic career at St. Petersburg where he worked under Markoff. Owing to difficult conditions caused by the Revolution he moved to Perm in the Urals. Besicovitch left the Soviet Union in 1925 and in 1926 settled in Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1934 and received its Sylvester medal in 1952. Kekeya's famous problem, the determination of the least area swept out by a straight line which is reversed in direction by a continuous   motion in the plane, was solved by Besicovitch who proved the surprising result that there is no least area. He made important contributions to the theories of measure, sets of points, real analysis, surface area, and also to the additive theory of numbers. He was known for producing apparently simple problems which were extremely difficult to solve. His publications include Almost Periodic Functions (19552). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.C. Poggendorff, Handwoerterbuch zur Geschichte der exakten Wissenschaften, 8 (1966). (Barry Spain)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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