Boris Delaunay

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Boris Delaunay
Delone cropped 1924.jpg
Born(1890-03-15)March 15, 1890
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
DiedJuly 17, 1980(1980-07-17) (aged 90)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Known for Delaunay triangulation, Mountain climbing
Scientific career
Doctoral advisor Dmitry Grave and Georgy Voronoy
Doctoral students Aleksandr Danilovich Aleksandrov
Igor Shafarevich
Isaak Yaglom

Boris Nikolaevich Delaunay or Delone (Russian : Бори́с Никола́евич Делоне́; March 15, 1890 – July 17, 1980) was one of the first Russian mountain climbers and a Soviet/Russian mathematician, and the father of physicist Nikolai Borisovich Delone.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.


The spelling Delone is a straightforward transliteration from Cyrillic he often used in later publications, while Delaunay is the French version he used in the early French and German publications.

Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters in predictable ways.

Cyrillic script alphabetic writing system

The Cyrillic script is a writing system used for various alphabets across Eurasia, particularly in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and North Asia. It is based on the Early Cyrillic alphabet developed during the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School in the First Bulgarian Empire. It is the basis of alphabets used in various languages, especially those of Orthodox Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. As of 2011, around 250 million people in Eurasia use it as the official alphabet for their national languages, with Russia accounting for about half of them. With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following Latin and Greek.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.


Boris Delone got his surname from his ancestor French Army officer De Launay, who was captured in Russia during Napoleon's invasion of 1812. De Launay was a nephew of the Bastille governor marquis de Launay. He married a woman from the Tukhachevsky noble family and stayed in Russia. [1]

A surname, family name, or last name is the portion of a personal name that indicates a person's family. Depending on the culture, all members of a family unit may have identical surnames or there may be variations based on the cultural rules.

French Army Land warfare branch of Frances military

The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.

Bastille former fortress in Paris, France

The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. It was stormed by a crowd on 14 July 1789, in the French Revolution, becoming an important symbol for the French Republican movement, and was later demolished and replaced by the Place de la Bastille.

When Boris was a young boy his family spent summers in the Alps where he learned mountain climbing. [2] By 1913, he became one of the top three Russian mountain climbers. After the Russian revolution, he climbed mountains in the Caucasus and Altai. One of the mountains (4300 m) near Belukha is named after him. In the 1930s, he was among the first to receive a qualification of Master of mountain climbing of the USSR. Future Nobel laureate in physics Igor Tamm was his associate in setting tourist camps in the mountains.

Alps major mountain range system in Central Europe

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries : France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

Caucasus region in Eurasia bordered on the south by Iran, on the southwest by Turkey, on the west by the Black Sea, on the east by the Caspian Sea, and on the north by Russia

The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Altai Mountains Mountains in Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia

The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, and are where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters. The northwest end of the range is at 52° N and between 84° and 90° E, and extends southeast from there to about 45° N and 99° E, where it gradually becomes lower and merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert.

Boris Delaunay worked in the fields of modern algebra, the geometry of numbers. He used the results of Evgraf Fedorov, Hermann Minkowski, Georgy Voronoy, and others in his development of modern mathematical crystallography and general mathematical model of crystals. [3] He invented what is now called Delaunay triangulation in 1934; [4] Delone sets are also named after him. Among his best students are the mathematicians Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Igor Shafarevich.

Abstract algebra branch of mathematics

In algebra, which is a broad division of mathematics, abstract algebra is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include groups, rings, fields, modules, vector spaces, lattices, and algebras. The term abstract algebra was coined in the early 20th century to distinguish this area of study from the other parts of algebra.

In number theory, the geometry of numbers studies convex bodies and integer vectors in n-dimensional space. The geometry of numbers was initiated by Hermann Minkowski (1910).

Evgraf Fedorov Russian mathematician, crystallographer, and mineralogist

Evgraf Stepanovich Fedorov was a Russian mathematician, crystallographer and mineralogist.

Delaunay was elected the corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1929. [5] Delaunay is credited as being an organizer, in Leningrad in 1934, of the first mathematical olympiad for high school students in the Soviet Union. [5] [6]

Soviet Student Olympiad was an annual set of contests for students in USSR. There were two separate multi-round competitions every year: for higher education (universities) and general education. Both competitions had several rounds, and winners from lower rounds would go to the next round. Not only individual members, but teams were awarded too. The main difference between two Olympiads was that the school one had separate threads for every grade, while the university one was for all students.


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  1. Memoirs by Boris Rozenfeld, p. 61 (in Russian).
  2. Boris Delaunay – Master of mountain climbing
  3. Senechal, Marjorie (1995), Quasicrystals and Geometry, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  4. Delaunay, Boris (1934), "Sur la sphère vide", Otdelenie Matematicheskikh i Estestvennykh Nauk, 7, pp. 793–800
  5. 1 2 Boris Nikolaevich Deaunay (in Russian), Division of Higher Geometry and Topology, Mathematics and Mechanics Department, Moscow State University.
  6. S. S. Ryshkov, D. K. Faddeev and M. I. Shtogrin Boris Nikolaevich Delone (on the occasion of his eightieth birthday). Russian Mathematical Surveys, vol. 26 (1971), pp. 199–203; p. 200