# 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lobachevskiy, Nicolas Ivanovich

**LOBACHEVSKIY, NICOLAS IVANOVICH** (1793–1856),
Russian mathematician, was born at Makariev, Nizhniy-Novgorod,
on the 2nd of November (N.S.) 1793. His father
died about 1800, and his mother, who was left in poor circumstances,
removed to Kazan with her three sons. In 1807
Nicolas, the second boy, entered as a student in the University
of Kazan, then recently established. Five years later, having
completed the curriculum, he began to take part in the teaching,
becoming assistant professor in 1814 and extraordinary professor
two years afterwards. In 1823 he succeeded to the ordinary
professorship of mathematics, and retained the chair until about
1846, when he seems to have fallen into official disfavour. At
that time his connexion with the university to which he had
devoted his life practically came to an end, except that in
1855, at the celebration of his jubilee, he brought it as a last
tribute his *Pangéométrie*, in which he summarized the results
of his geometrical studies. This work was translated into
German by H. Liebmann in 1902. He died at Kazan on the
24th of February (N.S.) 1856. Lobachevskiy was one of the
first thinkers to apply a critical treatment to the fundamental
axioms of geometry, and he thus became a pioneer of the modern
geometries which deal with space other than as treated by
Euclid. His first contribution to non-Euclidian geometry is
believed to have been given in a lecture at Kazan in 1826, but
the subject is treated in many of his subsequent memoirs, among
which may be mentioned the *Geometrische Untersuchungen zur*
*Theorie der Parallellinien* (Berlin, 1840, and a new edition in 1887),
and the *Pangéométrie* already referred to, which in the subtitle
is described as a précis of geometry founded on a general
and rigorous theory of parallels. (See Geometry, § *Non-Euclidean*,
and Geometry, § *Axioms of*.) In addition to his
geometrical studies, he made various contributions to other
branches of mathematical science, among them being an elaborate
treatise on algebra (Kazan, 1834). Besides being a geometer of
power and originality, Lobachevskiy was an excellent man of
business. Under his administration the University of Kazan
prospered as it had never done before; and he not only organized
the teaching staff to a high degree of efficiency, but arranged
and enriched its library, furnished instruments for its observatory,
collected specimens for its museums and provided it with proper
buildings. In order to be able to supervise the erection of the
last, he studied architecture, with such effect, it is said, that
he was able to carry out the plans at a cost considerably below
the original estimates.

See F. Engel, *N. I. Lobatchewsky* (Leipzig, 1899).