Mstislav Vsevolodovich Keldysh (February 10, 1911, Riga - 24 June 1978, Moscow) was a Soviet scientist in the field of mathematics and mechanics, academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1946), President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1961–1975), three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1956, 1961, 1971), fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1968).
Mstislav's father, Vsevolod Mikhailovich Keldysh (1878-1965), was a Civil engineer, Major General of the Engineering Service, and a full Professor (since 1918, teaching at the Kuybyshev Military Engineering Academy. He was a Distinguished Engineering Scientist of Soviet Union (Заслуженный деятель науки и техники СССР) since 1944. He was one of the authors of contemporary methods for calculating the strength of reinforced concrete, and one of the authors of the project of Moscow Canal and Moscow Metro.
Many Keldyshes were victims of the political repressions. In the 1930s Mstislav's uncle was sent to a labor camp on the White Sea-Baltic Canal construction site. In 1935 Mstislav's mother was arrested but after a few weeks was released. It was a part of the campaign of collecting gold from the population, but after Mstislav's father brought all the jewelry the family had the unsatisfied NKVD officer returned "all this garbage" back. Mstislav's brother Mikhail, a historian who specialized in medieval Germany, was arrested in 1936 and executed in 1937 as a "German spy." In 1938 another of Mstislav's brothers, Alexander, was arrested as a "French spy." He was relieved to get into a small liberalization of the repressions during the transfer of the NKVD leadership from Nikolai Yezhov to Lavrenty Beria, so Alexander was acquitted in the court.
The strongest influence on Mstislav was his older sister, Ljudmila Keldysh (1904-1976), who was a notable mathematician and Mstislav's first teacher. Among her children (Mstislav's nephews) are Leonid Keldysh, director of Lebedev Physical Institute, and Sergei Novikov, a famous mathematician.
Mstislav was born in 1911 in Riga. When he was four the family evacuated to Moscow during the First World War. In the first years of the Soviet Union he was refused entrance to an Institute of Civil Engineers because of his attachment to a noble family (1927). In the next years he managed to enter a graduate from physics and mathematics department of the Moscow State University (July 24 1931) and then get a job at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) under Mikhail Lavrentyev and Sergei Chaplygin.
Working in TsAGI he explained the auto-oscillation effects of flutter and shimmy (auto-oscillation in the tricycle gear design of the aircraft undercarriages). Both works were both mathematically beautiful and practically extremely important as both effects were the main cause of the aircraft catastrophes at the time.
In 1937 Keldysh became Doctor of Science (his dissertation's title was Complex Variable and Harmonic Functions Representation by Polynomial Series) and a Professor of Moscow State University, in 1943 he became a Corresponding Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Keldysh got his first Stalin Prize in 1946 for the works about auto-oscillations in aircraft. The same year he became a full member of the Academy and the Director of NII-1 (Research Institute number 1) of the Department of the Aviation Industry. He also headed the Department of Applied Mechanics of the Steklov Institute for Mathematics (in 1966 the department became Instute for Applied Mechanics, later named after Keldysh).
Since 1940ies Keldysh became the leader of a unique group of applied mathematicians involved in almost all large scientific projects of the Soviet Union. In 1940ies he created the calculation bureau that carried most of the mathematical problems related to the development of the nuclear weapons. The bureau is also credited with the design of the first Soviet computers.
The main works of Keldysh were devoted to the jet propulsion and rockets including supersonic gas dynamics, heat and mass exchange, heat shielding, etc. In 1959 the first cruise missile in the world had passed the tests and displayed better performance than the Navajo missile being designed in USA at the time.
In 1954 Mstislav Keldysh, Sergey Korolyov and Mikhail Tikhonravov submitted a letter to the Soviet Government that proposed creating an Earth artificial satellite that started the works on the Sputnik. In 1955 Keldysh was appointed chairman of the satellite committee at the Academy of Science. In 1957 the first Sputnik was launched to the orbit starting the Space Era for the humankind. In recognition of his contribution to the problems of defence Keldysh was awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor (1956) and the Lenin Prize (1957). In 1961 he got his second Него of Socialist Labor medal for his contribution to the Yuri Gagarin's flight into space.
In 1961 Keldysh was elected the Chairman of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and kept this position for 14 years. Among his achievements were rehabilitation of genetics and cybernetics, support of dissident scientists including Andrei Sakharov. His last scientific works were devoted to creation of the Shuttle Buran.
The Keldysh crater on the Moon, and a research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh are named after him. A minor planet 2186 Keldysh discovered in 1973 by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh is also named in his honor.
Mineralogy, Sulphur Isotope Geochemistry and the Development of Sulphide Structures at the Broken Spur Hydrothermal Vent Site, 29 Degrees 10'N, Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Sep 01, 1998; I. B. BUTLER1*, A. E. FALLICK2 & R. W. NESBITT1 Abstract: A large collection of hydrothermal sulphides from the Broken Spur...