Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin

Quick Info

4 October 1936
Karaoba, Sarykol district, Kostanay region, Kazakh SSR, USSR (now Kazakhstan)
23 May 2005
Berlin, Germany

Umirzak Sultangazin was a Kazakhstan mathematician who did excellent work on kinetic transport theory. He was an important figure in building up mathematics in Kazakhstan and was involved in the Mir and Soyuz space programmes.


Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin was the son of Makhmutov Sultangazin and his wife Nurila Temirbaeva [15]:-
As the academician himself said, the foundation of spiritual life is laid precisely in the early years and depends on the family, environment and school. He grew up in the village of Kara-Oba in the post-war years, they were very difficult, but memorable, as the scientist recalls. It was a period of some kind of special unity of people who were distinguished by their cordiality and kindness. Sultangazin's parents, who worked from morning till night on the collective farm, raised him not by words, but by personal example, so he was accustomed to work from early childhood.
From 1944 to 1953 Sultangazin studied at the Kara-Oba secondary school. There he was taught by Myrzagali Karsakbaev (born 1918), who had fought in World War II and been seriously wounded in the offensive against Berlin before beginning his teaching career. Karsakbaev would teach the brightest pupils after the end of the school day, and in the final two years, worked with the students on the problems in P S Modenov's problem books. These books were intended to help in preparing for the admission examinations in mathematics in higher educational institutions and posed demanding problems. This excellent preparation meant that Sultangazin found it an easy task to gain admission to the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the S M Kirov Kazakh State University (today known as the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University) in 1953.

At the Kazakh State University, Sultangazin was taught by some outstanding professors. These included Askar Zakarevich Zakarin (1908-1990), Konstantin Petrovich Persiansky (1903-1970), and Khasan Ibrashevich Ibrashev. Zakarin continually told his students:-
Mathematics is the queen of sciences, it does not tolerate inexactness and negligence. Therefore, a scientist-mathematician should be extremely careful and attentive, so not to deviate from the truth.
In spring 1955, Zakarin became Minister of Education of the Kazakh SSR, and in 1958 he became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kazakh SSR.

Sultangazin said that the fine teaching he had from Myrzagali Karsakbaev made the transition from elementary "concrete" school mathematics to "abstract" university mathematics easy for him. He said [15]:-
Indeed, it is difficult when you start dealing with objects that you never experienced, did not see, but when you get involved in it and start thinking abstractly, you begin to feel the power of human thinking, the power of modern mathematics, to understand that this is not a game, but a reflection of the real world.
Konstantin Petrovich Persiansky had become a professor of mathematics in 1934, and was Head of the Department of Mathematical Analysis at Kazakh State University (1940-46), then Head of the Department of Differential Equations (1946-68). He was Sultangazin's thesis advisor and praised highly his thesis 'The relative movement of the point of variable mass'. Sultangazin graduated with honours in 1958 and on 14 March of that year he married Raikhan Ganievna Meirmanova; they had two children, Zhanat Umirzakovna Sultangazina and Almas Sultangazin. Zhanat Sultangazina is the director of the tea and coffee processing company "Chainy Dvor, Too". Almas Sultangazin, born in July 1964, is a co-founder of the Sulpak retail chain and one of the most influential businessmen in Kazakhstan.

After graduating in 1958, Sultangazin was appointed as an assistant working for next six years in the departments of higher algebra, differential equations and computational mathematics of Kazakh State University. He was promoted to associate professor in 1960. He participated in the 'First Kazakhstan Interuniversity Scientific Conference in Mathematics and Mechanics' held in October 1963 and presented the paper On a certain gradient method for determining an eigenvector corresponding to the smallest eigenvalue of a positive definite matrix (Russian) which was published in the conference proceedings.

In 1964 he moved to Novosibirsk to work at the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Guri Ivanovich Marchuk had gone to Novosibirsk two years earlier to set up a Computing Centre for the Institute of Mathematics in the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Marchuk had been appointed as deputy director of the Institute of Mathematics of the Siberian Branch in Novosibirsk and, after Sultangazin arrived there, he quickly realised his potential. Marchuk became Sultangazin's doctoral thesis advisor. We note that the Russian doctorate was of a similar standard to the habilitation or the D.Sc. In 1966, Sultangazin defended his doctoral thesis on the topic "The splitting method for the kinetic transport equation". He published three papers, written jointly with Marchuk, namely Convergence of a decoupling method for the radiation transfer equation (1965), Solving the kinetic transfer equation by the separation method (1965), and On a proof of the splitting method for the equation of radiation transfer (Russian) (1965). Reviewing the first of these, Sueo Ueno writes:-
The aim of the present paper is to show how the decoupling method proposed in a [1964 paper by Marchuk and N N Janenko] can be applied to the diffuse reflection and transmission problem of light by a finite, isotropically scattering atmosphere with an emission source and the appropriate boundary conditions.
Reviewing the second, R C Mjolsness writes:-
The first-order integro-differential equation governing stationary, one-velocity radiation transfer in a medium with isotropic scattering and production and absorption of radiation is considered. The medium is assumed to be bounded and convex, with a piecewise smooth boundary, and properties of the medium are described by piecewise continuous functions of position. No reflections are permitted at the boundary. A function space is defined which contains generalised solutions satisfying the equation and the boundary condition almost everywhere in the medium.
The third paper studied a transport equation using iterative processes.

Sultangazin returned to Kazakh State University and continued to publish papers on kinetic transport theory, the next two being On solving the kinetic transfer equation by the splitting method (Russian) (1966) and Solution of the transfer equation in the case of an anisotropic scattering by the splitting method (Russian) (1966). He became head of the Department of Computational Mathematics at Kazakh State University. Bakytzhan Zhumagulov recalled [7]:-
I was his student. His lectures made me a specialist in the field of numerical methods for problems of mathematical physics.
In 1978 Sultangazin became director of the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR. He trained many young mathematicians, then sending them for internships and further postgraduate studies to leading scientific centres in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Kiev, and Leningrad. Under his leadership the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics was involved with the latest trends in mathematics, mechanics, computational mathematics and applied mathematics.

In 1985 Sultangazin became a member of the executive committee of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR and, in the following year, he became its vice-president. After serving from 1986 to 1988 as vice-president, he became president in 1988. He held this position until 1994 and during these years he made a significant contribution to the fundamental restructuring of the scientific and organisational activities of the Academy of Sciences. Under his leadership, three regional branches of the Academy of Sciences were opened in Southern, Western and Eastern Kazakhstan. In addition a number of new institutes and scientific centres were set up. We note that he served a second term as vice-president of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR in 2002-03.

In 1991, at Sultangazin's initiative, the Space Research Institute of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan was founded. He became its head and continued to hold this position for the rest of his life. Under his leadership, the Institute has become a leading scientific organisation with recognised international authority in the field of remote sensing, space monitoring, space materials science and the safety of operation of rocket and space systems. Under his leadership, in 1994, the Centre for Reception and Processing of Satellite Information was organised at the Institute, and in 2003, on his initiative, the Space Monitoring Centre was established in Astana.

He was the scientific director of four programmes of scientific research conducted on board the Mir space station. Mir operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001 and the four programmes he led were in 1991, 1993-94, and 1998. He also led the Kazakhstan programme of scientific research and experiments on board the International Space Station in 2001. Sultangazin approached President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and discussed with him a State Programme for the Development of the Space Industry in Kazakhstan. With much input from Sultangazin, the Programme was approved in January 2005.

He published about 350 scientific works: monographs, textbooks, and articles in Kazakh, Russian and English. He supervised 25 students for the candidate of science degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) and six students for the doctoral degree (equivalent to a D.Sc.). To understand Sultangazin's research in more detail, we look at books which he has written. His book Methods of spherical harmonics and discrete ordinates in problems of kinetic transport theory (Russian) was published in 1979. Janusz Mika begins a the review [10] as follows:-
The main portion of this book is devoted to the analysis of the method of spherical harmonics as applied to the time-dependent linear Boltzmann equation describing the behaviour of particles interacting with the host medium but not among themselves. Such a situation arises in nuclear reactor theory, astrophysics, plasma physics and related fields. It is assumed that the host medium is isotropic and all the particles have the same speed. The boundary condition is such that no particles are coming in from the vacuum surrounding the system. ...
In 1985 Sultangazin published Discrete nonlinear models of the Boltzmann equation (Russian). Here are brief extracts from Vladimir A Protopopescu's review [14]:-
The book is a comprehensive, yet not exhaustive, review of basic and recent results for discrete-velocity realisations of the nonlinear Boltzmann equation. Many of these results are due to the author, who is one of the foremost researchers in this domain. ... The first chapter reviews the connection between kinetics and hydrodynamics and the derivation of the discrete Boltzmann equation for monatomic model gases. The second chapter deals with the spatially homogeneous discrete models. ... The third chapter is devoted to the rigorous analysis of the evolution problem. ... In the fourth chapter the author presents different methods of solving the discrete Boltzmann equation. Despite a certain lack of sparkle, this book reflects the serious and reliable quality one has been accustomed to expect from the Russian school in kinetic theory.
Sultangazin was an author on the multi-author book Mathematical problems in kinetic transport theory (Russian) published in 1986 [10]:-
This monograph, written by a team of authors from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, is devoted to theoretical and algorithmic aspects of the spherical harmonics method as applied to the linear Boltzmann equation of neutron transport theory and radiative transfer. ...
The only book by Sultangazin which has been translated into English is Discrete nonlinear models of the Boltzmann equation (1987). Carlo Cercignani begins the review [4] as follows:-
This monograph is devoted to the mathematical theory of discrete velocity models. Since this is a rather popular subject at this moment, a survey of the contributions to this subject is welcome, especially because it deals extensively with papers of Soviet authors.
Sultangazin writes in this book:-
In this book an attempt is made to trace, in simple models, the connection between the kinetic Boltzmann equation and the equations of mechanics of a continuum. The global theorem of existence and uniqueness is proved for a certain class of discrete equations, the meaning of the difference of two solutions for a symmetric nonlinear system describing a model of a continuum is defined. Analysed is the structure of shock waves by means of a kinetic model and the corresponding model of Navier-Stokes equations and provided is mathematical justification of the splitting method for some discrete nonlinear models.
Another multi-author book involving Sultangazin is Concentrated capacity in problems of thermo-physics and micro-electronics (Russian) published in 1992. The publisher gives the following description:-
This monograph considers problems of modelling, identification and optimisation of the processes of heat transfer and charge carriers in distributed objects of metallurgical heat technology and semiconductor micro-electronics. Results are presented on the use of the concept of concentrated capacity in studies of heat exchange processes in a burden-metal system under induction welding of rigid alloys, operating regimes of powerful super-high-frequency field transistors, heat regimes of the activation annealing of semiconductor plates, and switching processes of an injection logical element of an invertor.
Sultangazin received many honours for his outstanding contributions. Let us mention the State Prize of the USSR in 1987 for a series of works on the theory of transfer, and Order of Lenin in 1991. This was awarded for his many contributions to "the use of the achievements of space science in the interests of the national economy and his active participation in the preparation and implementation of the flight of the Soyuz TM-13 spacecraft." He was awarded the S P Korolev Medal (1986), the P L Kapitsa Medal (1996), the Tarlan Prize (2002) and the Parasat Order and Medal in 2004. In 1989, he was awarded the Prize of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in the field of natural sciences. In 1994 he was made an Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics.

After becoming seriously ill, Sultangazin went to Berlin for treatment where he died in a medical clinic in 2005.

Following his death, he has received further honours. Streets in Almaty and Kostanay are named after him. In January 2011 the Space Research Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR was named for him. Also in 2011 Kazakhstan issued a stamp to commemorate Sultangazin's 75th birthday. See THIS LINK.

In 2018, the Kostanay State Pedagogical University was named for Sultangazin and in 2019 a monument to Sultangazin was unveiled in Kostanay near the Pedagogical University. At the ceremony the Kazakhstan politician Kenzhegali Abenovich Sagadiyev said [6]:-
I am glad that your university is named after the legendary, world-renowned scientist, academician Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin. Umirzak Makhmutovich is one of the world-renowned academicians of Kazakhstan. He has lectured and served in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and other countries. He founded the schools of science. That is why we are proud of him. In mathematics, scientists are numbered according to their work, first and second. The first was a letter from Jacques-Louis Lions, a world-renowned scientist and president of the French Academy of Sciences, praising his work. Jacques Lions writes: "I appreciate your scientific work. I still remember reading your classic Boltzmann equations with great interest. I will never forget meeting you in Novosibirsk, Moscow and Paris and listening to your lectures with interest. On behalf of all French colleagues at the French Academy, I extend my heartfelt greetings."
Let us end with a quote by Sultangazin from an interview he gave [21]:-
Our state should trust its scientists more ... we must work so that we are not ashamed of the country that we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

References (show)

  1. A prominent Kazakh scientist, academician Umirzak Sultangazin died after a serious illness (Russian), NOMAD (24 May 2005).
  2. Academician U M Sultangazin (on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday) (Russian), Vestn. Minister. Nauki Akad. Nauk Resp. Kaz. 1997 (1) (1997), 62-65.
  3. Academician U M Sultangazin (on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday) (Russian), Vestnik Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR 1986 (10) (1986), 76.
  4. C Cercignani, Review: Discrete nonlinear models of the Boltzmann equation, by U M Sultangazin, Mathematical Reviews MR1001161 (90f:82020).
  5. Dedicated to Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin, a leader in Kazakh science (Russian), Matematicheskii Zhurnal 5 (3)(17) (2005), 107-109.
  6. Editor, This year is special for Kostanay State Pedagogical University named after Umirzak Sultangazin (Kazakh), Our Kostanay (17 May 2019).
  7. G Govorov, Monument to academician Umirzak Sultangazin opened in Kostanay (Russian), Our Newspaper: Kostanay regional weekly (17 May 2019).
  8. International Mathematical Olympiad named after Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin (Kazakh), (3 March 218).
  9. I M Kozybaev, Umirzak Sultangazin. Biographical sketch (Russian) (Raritet, 2020).
  10. J Mika, Review: Methods of spherical harmonics and discrete ordinates in problems of kinetic transport theory (Russian), by U M Sultangazin, Mathematical Reviews MR0568329 (81h:82056).
  11. J Mika, Review: Mathematical problems in kinetic transport theory (Russian), by U M Sultangazin, V V Smelov, A Sh Akishev, A Sakabekov, I Marek, S Mika and K Zhitny, Mathematical Reviews MR0871687 (88g:82001).
  12. On the eve of Independence Day, by Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 650 Kazakhstanis were awarded state awards (Russian), NOMAD (15 December 2004).
  13. Organized the book exhibition "Alem gylymynyn sanlagy" dedicated to the birthday of the prominent scientist-mathematician, academician of the Academy of sciences of the RK Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin, National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan (4 October 2019).⟨=en&Itemid=127
  14. V A Protopopescu, Review: Discrete nonlinear models of the Boltzmann equation (Russian), by U M Sultangazin, Mathematical Reviews MR0795593 (86k:82055).
  15. D Shalgimbayev, Life as an example of serving the ideals of science (Russian), Uchitel'skaya plyus (16 October 2020).
  16. Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin,
  17. Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin (Kazakh), Kostanay State University (2021).
  18. Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin (Kazakh), Kostanay Regional Museum of Local History.
  19. Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin (Russian), Institute of Mathematics and Mathematical Modeling.
  20. Umirzak Makhmutovich Sultangazin (Russian), Kazakhstan Encyclopedia.Султангазин,_Умирзак_Махмутович
  21. M Zhurinov, He has always been at the forefront of science (Russian), (14 October 2016).

Additional Resources (show)

Other pages about Umirzak Sultangazin:

  1. Miller's postage stamps

Other websites about Umirzak Sultangazin:

  1. MathSciNet Author profile
  2. zbMATH entry

Cross-references (show)

Written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Last Update March 2022