Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov

Quick Info

1 May 1911
Village No 2, Kounrad district, Karaganda region, Russian Empire (now Kazakhstan)
15 May 1989
Almaty, Kazakh SSR, USSR (now Kazakhstan)

Orymbek Zhautykov was a Kazakh mathematician who published over 200 works consisting of research papers, popular science works, pedagogical works, works on the history of mathematics, undergraduate textbooks and other articles.


Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov was the son of Akhmetbek Zhautykov, a nomadic cattle breeder. Orymbek Akhmetbekovich described his young days [5]:-
I remember myself when 5-6 years old. It was a sultry summer and I was with the village boys. We were hiding in the thickets of the Kusak River, which flows into the Tokrau. The Karshyga valley stretched under the Karashoky mountain. With its water, my father and other villagers irrigated small fields where Akbidai wheat and several varieties of millet were grown. We spent the winter on the banks of the Balkhash. At one time we lived on the Tagyrshik peninsula, and then they built a winter quarters in the populous Deresin region. They ate fish, which they caught with a special fishing rod.
When he was nine years old, his father brought him to Orazbek village where he was taught by Nigmatulla Duisenbaev. In a class of twenty pupils, sitting on the floor, they learnt to read. Orymbek Akhmetbekovich was fascinated by the Russian language and was very diligent in carrying out all the tasks his teacher gave him. A new type of school opened in the village of Akhmetzhan Sarmantaev in the Deresin region which conducted lessons in a modified version of the language with simplified pronunciation and spelling. There Orymbek Akhmetbekovich learnt the rules of arithmetic and soon became highly proficient. He explained how his skill helped him [5]:-
My uncle took me to the village of Karabulak, to the teacher Khatim Nigmatullin, but he didn't want to take me into school since we were three months late. While negotiations were going on, I was in the classroom and listened as the teacher gave the students a problem about three metres of chintz. By this time, I already knew that "a metre is a forty-millionth part of the earth's meridian passing through Paris." Having asked permission to speak, I explained how to solve the problem. Nigmatullin was surprised ... and accepted me as a pupil.
At the Karabulak school, the teachers were impressed with Orymbek Akhmetbekovich's passion for arithmetical problems and his father decided to send his talented boy to a more prestigious school in the county town of Karkaralinsk. He excelled at the 1st level school there, took competitive examinations in arithmetic and the Russian language, and with brilliant results progressed to the next level. He was taught mathematics by Sergei Mikhailovich Ponomarev, a graduate of the Leningrad Pedagogical University, and Zhautykov graduated in 1930. Later that year he entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the Kazakh Pedagogical University where he studied for four years and graduated in 1934.

Zhautykov studied at the Kazakh Pedagogical University during the years when the first five-year plan was taking effect. This plan, created by Joseph Stalin, aimed at transforming the Soviet Union from an agricultural state to a high powered industrial one. As part of the plan, students from the University were sent to Karaganda where they worked on the construction of a mine and began the construction of the Kargres hydro-electric station which was to serve the mine. Zhautykov spent time there, but was also sent by Komsomol, the Communist Soviet youth organisation, to the collective farms of the Zhana-Arka region. Part of the five-year plan was the collectivisation of agriculture, aimed at bringing small farms together into larger units under State control.

After graduating with a first degree in mathematics in 1934, Zhautykov was offered work as an assistant in the Department of Mathematics of the Kazakh Pedagogical University while he undertook research for a higher degree. At this time the University had an arrangement with Leningrad State University so that Zhautykov could register as an external student in the Leningrad Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics. In 1939 he went to Leningrad to work with his research advisor Isidor Pavlovich Natanson (1906-1964), a Swiss-born mathematician known for his contributions to real analysis and constructive function theory. At this time World War II was already taking place but with the Soviet Union allied to Germany, there was little effect on life in Leningrad. However, on 22 June 1941 the course of the war changed dramatically for those living in Russia since Germany invaded their country. By the following month Hitler had plans to take both Leningrad and Moscow. As the German armies rapidly advanced towards Leningrad, many people were evacuated from the city and Zhautykov was forced to end his research there and returned to the Kazakh Pedagogical University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Back in Almaty, Zhautykov began to work with Konstantin Petrovich Persidsky (1903-1970) who had come from Kazan to take up a position at the Kazakh Pedagogical University. Persidsky had been working on Aleksandr Mikhailovich Lyapunov's ideas on the theory of stability and organised a scientific seminar on the theory of stability in which Zhautykov took part. This led to Zhautykov submitting the thesis Some questions of the theory of stability of motion in the sense of Lyapunov for the degree of Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and he was awarded the degree in 1944. In this thesis he generalised theorems on the instability of solutions of systems of ordinary differential equations given by Lyapunov and Chetaev. Nikolai Guryevich Chetaev (1902-1959) had been a professor at Kazan University from 1930 to 1940 where he had created a school of the mathematical theory of stability of motion.

At the beginning of 1945 Zhautykov was a member of a delegation of Kazakh scientists headed by Kanysh Imantayuli Satbayev (1899-1964), which went to Moscow to seek approval for the structure and staffing of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR which they had based on the existing branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Zhautykov spent time during this visit both in Moscow and in Leningrad where he met with Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov, Vladimir Ivanovich Smirnov, Ivan Georgievich Petrovsky and other scientists to discuss the problems and topics that the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics, proposed as part of the new Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, would work on after its opening. The proposals that Zhautykov presented to these mathematicians were enthusiastically supported. On 26 October 1945 a resolution agreeing to the founding of the new Academy was passed by the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR and the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR began operating in Almaty on 1 June 1946. Zhautykov was a senior researcher in the Academy from its founding and, in 1951, he became head of its Department of Mathematics and Mechanics.

Zhautykov's publications began in 1947 with Some theorems on the stability of motion followed by a book in 1949 written jointly with Persidsky. He wrote many works on the history of mathematics throughout his career, the first being The evolution of numbers (Kazakh) in 1949. In addition, he wrote many biographical articles about mathematicians, some being obituaries other being to celebrate their birthday. The first such work, which also appeared in 1949, was Alexander Mikhailovich Lyapunov written on the 30th anniversary of his death.

Also in 1949 Zhautykov published the paper Cauchy's problem for a denumerable system of partial differential equations (Russian). Five papers with similar titles were published between 1949 and 1952. In his works, a number of fundamental theorems on the existence and uniqueness of the solution of an infinite system of differential equations and its differential properties were proved, as well as the qualitative aspects of the nature of the solution. We note, however, that Joaquín Basilio Díaz pointed out in a review that there are some errors in these early papers by Zhautykov. He was promoted steadily at the Kazakh Pedagogical University, being Associate Professor 1946-48, and Head of the Department of Mathematical Analysis 1948-51.

Zhautykov was interested in supporting the teaching of mathematics in Kazakhstan and one of the ways that he approached this was publishing books in Kazakh. For example in 1950 he published the 52-page booklet Simple differential equations: Higher education textbook for students (Kazakh). A more major textbook was the 784-page textbook in Kazakh, A course of mathematical analysis (Kazakh), which was published in 1958 with a Foreword that begins as follows:-
It has been a long time since Kazakh departments were opened in the pedagogical institutes of Kazakhstan and in the physics and mathematics faculties of the Kazakh University. Thousands of students in these departments, including part-time students, listen to lectures on higher mathematics in the Kazakh language.

Despite the fact that these departments have been around for a long time, there is still no textbook or manual on mathematics in Kazakh. That is why students studying in Kazakh departments face serious difficulties.

Of course, thousands of Kazakh students demand that textbooks on mathematics be in their mother tongue. In order to meet at least some of these requirements, the author offers one of the branches of higher mathematics - a course of mathematical analysis. This book is based on the author's work for many years at the Kazakh Pedagogical Institute named after Abai and his lectures on mathematical analysis at the faculties of physics and mathematics of the Kazakh University named after S M Kirov.

Topics covered in the book: introduction to analysis, differential calculus, integral calculus, theory of series, functions of polynomials, theory of multiple integrals and curvilinear integrals. This course differs significantly from Russian textbooks in terms of layout and presentation. First of all, the amount of mathematical training of young people from secondary schools in the country and the amount of time allocated for analysis of the curriculum were taken into account. In addition, the interests of part-time students, secondary school teachers, students of technical universities with mathematical analysis are also considered. In writing the book, the author draws on his many years of experience in teaching mathematical analysis.
It was reviewed in [10]:-
This clearly written text is entirely in the Kazak language. It is at about the level of Courant's 'Calculus'. The style and pace of development appear to be suitable for undergraduate university study. The six principal divisions are: Introduction to analysis; Differential, integral calculus of functions of one variable; Theory of series; Differential, integral calculus of functions of several variables. Exercises are given at the end of most chapters and a list of errata is included.
In 1961 Zhautykov was awarded a doctorate (equivalent in standard to the habilitation) for his thesis Study of infinite systems of differential equations (Russian). He had defended his doctoral thesis at the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Akademgorodok, Siberia. He was awarded the title of professor and, on the 29 May of the following year, became a academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR.

Let us look at two further books by Zhautykov. In 1974, jointly with Kim G Valeev, he published Infinite systems of differential equations (Russian). Gottfried Seifert begins a review of the book as follows [11]:-
The book deals with a relatively new branch of the theory of differential equations. A starting point for the investigation of systems of countably many ordinary differential equations was the work "On Infinite Systems of Differential Equations" by A N Tikhonov, in which existence and uniqueness theorems for such systems have already been proved. Works by K P Persidskii, M A Krasnoselskii, M G Krein and investigations by the two authors of the present monograph contributed significantly to further development. The content is divided into 10 chapters. Chapters 6-10 contain numerous original results from both authors, many of which are published here for the first time. The first two chapters are introductory. They contain some fundamentals from functional analysis that will be needed later and some information about infinite systems of algebraic equations.
In 1978 Zhautykov published Mathematics, and progress in science and technology (Russian). Vadim Komkov reviewed this book in [4]:-
This is an elementary text concerning the mathematical modelling of physical phenomena. The problems considered by the author are either in classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, or control of systems. In the introduction the author expresses his viewpoint concerning the interplay between physics and mathematics which is close to that expressed by Freeman J Dyson in his lecture to the American Mathematical Society (1972). The format of the book is fairly uniform. First a problem is discussed, a simple mathematical model follows, and shortcomings of that model are discussed. The mass-spring system expressed by Newton's law mx¨+bx˙+cx=0m\ddot x + b\dot x +cx=0 is later replaced by a nonlinear system containing a cubic term, as the Krylov correction is inserted (for a real spring). The problem of a flight trajectory is discussed in detail, with the physical assumptions clearly underlying the derivation of the basic equations of motion. Problems of acoustics, Maxwell's equations, Pontryagin's principle are all introduced in a fairly informal manner. This inexpensive paperback is written for undergraduates in various areas of technology or science as a broad first introduction to the art of mathematical modelling.
In [2] Zhautykov's contributions to teaching are described:-
In addition to huge scientific research activity, Academician O A Zhautykov always paid constant attention to the training of personnel in mathematics and mechanics. Under his leadership, fifteen candidate dissertations were defended. For more than fifty years he has been continuously teaching. His interesting, deeply informative and skilfully delivered lectures were listened to in the student auditoriums of the Kazakh Pedagogical Institute, the Kazakh State University, the Kazakh Polytechnic, and the Kazakh Women's Pedagogical Institute. Based on many years of experience in teaching various topics of mathematics in universities, he wrote the first most complete textbook on mathematical analysis in the Kazakh language, published in 1958. At one time, this was an event in the life of the higher education system in Kazakhstan. As a result, thousands of Kazakh boys and girls had the opportunity to learn and study in their own language from the inexhaustible treasures of mathematics. His experience in creating a textbook in the Kazakh language contributed to the emergence of similar textbooks in national languages in a number of Union republics. At the same time O A Zhautykov was known as a specialist in the history and methodology of mathematics and a consistent populariser of mathematical knowledge.
Zhautykov was Deputy Director of the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1965-68), Head of the Laboratory of Ordinary Differential Equations of the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1965-87), and Academic Secretary of the Department of Physics and Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1969-85).

We noted above that Zhautykov wrote works on the history of mathematics. Among these we mention: Short survey of the development of the theory of partial differential equations. For the 220th anniversary of the appearance of the theory of partial differential equations (Russian) (1955); Mathematics in Soviet Kazakhstan (Russian) (1958); The development of mathematics in Kazakhstan (Russian) (1967); From the history of the development of mathematics in the Academy of Sciences (Russian) (1974); Role of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in the development of the physico-mathematical sciences in Kazakhstan (Russian) (1974); al-Farabi - an outstanding representative of the exact sciences in the Middle Ages (Russian) (1975); The physico-mathematical sciences in Kazakhstan (Russian) (1977); and The state of the mathematical sciences in the system of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (Russian) (1985).

He received many State awards for his contributions. In addition, Kazakhstan issued a stamp on 15 September 2011 to celebrate the centenary of his birth. See THIS LINK.

The First International Zhautykov Olympiad in Mathematics was held in January 2005. There were 189 representatives, comprising 17 teams, who participated from schools in Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkey. It is now an annual competition. The Republican Physics-Mathematics Secondary Boarding School in Almaty is named after Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov.

References (show)

  1. 70th birthday of member of the Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences O A Zhautykov (Russian)Vestnik Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR 1981 (5) (1981), 65
  2. G I Belgibaeva and L D Abenova (eds), Zhautykov Orymbek Akhmetbekovich: Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (Russian) (Almaty, 2014).
  3. Zh S Erzhanov, Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov (on the occasion of his seventieth birthday) (Russian), Izv. Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR Ser. Fiz.-Mat. 1981 (3) (1981), 88-89.
  4. V Komkov, Review: Mathematics, and progress in science and technology (Russian), by O A Zhautykov, Mathematical Reviews MR0495311 (58 #14026).
  5. Letters of Academician Zhautykov Part 1 (Russian), KAZINFORM, International News Agency (8 April 2013).
  6. Letters of Academician Zhautykov Part 2 (Russian), KAZINFORM, International News Agency (9 April 2013).
  7. Orymbek (Orynbek) Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov (Russian), ru.wikipedia.org (7 February 2022).
  8. Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov (Russian)Izv. Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR Ser. Fiz.-Mat. 1989 (5) (1989)90-91
  9. Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov (Russian)Vestnik Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR 1989 (8) (1989)86.
  10. R See, Review: A course of mathematical analysis (Kazakh), by O A Zhautykov, Mathematical Reviews MR0123650 (23 #A975).
  11. G Seifert, Review: Infinite systems of differential equations (Russian), by K G Valeev and O A Zhautykov, zbMATH 0295.34006.
  12. U M Sultangazin, Orymbek Akhmetbekovich Zhautykov (on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday) (Russian)Izv. Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR Ser. Fiz.-Mat. 1986 (3) (1986)87-88.
  13. D U Umbetzhanov, Academician O A Zhautykov (on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of his birth) (Russian)Vestnik Akad. Nauk Kazakh. SSR 1991 (9) (1991)75-77.
  14. Zhautykov Orymbek Akhmetbekovich (1911-1989) (Russian), Alamty Cluster Office for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (3 May 2002).
  15. Zhautykov Orymbek Akhmetbekovich (Kazakh, Russian), Kazakhstan National Encyclopaedia Vol 2 (20 November 2009).

Additional Resources (show)

Other websites about Orymbek Zhautykov:

  1. MathSciNet Author profile
  2. zbMATH entry

Cross-references (show)

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