This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Artashes Shahinian (December 19, 1906) 

Artashes Shahinian is considered the founder of the Armenian school of mathematical sciences, which was already known internationally in the 1940s and 1950s. 

Shahinian was born on December 19, 1906, in Alexandropol (nowadays Gyumri). He graduated from Yerevan State University in 1930. He taught for almost fifty years (1929-1978) at his alma mater, where he was head of the chairs of geometry (1938-1944) and mathematical analysis and theory of functions (1944-1978), and dean of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics (1939-1942). He earned his doctorate in Physics and Mathematics at Leningrad (nowadays St. Petersburg) University in 1944 and in the same year he received the title of Professor. 

At the age of 39, he was elected corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 1945 and academician in 1947. He also held positions at the Academy: head of the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics (1945-1955), director of the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics (1955-1959), and academician-secretary of the Department of Physico-Mathematical Sciences (1950-1963). In 1961 he was given the title of Emeritus Scientist of Armenia. He was a deputy to the Soviet Supreme of Armenia from 1967-1975. 

Shahinian’s works set the foundation for systematic scientific research in the field of mathematics in Armenia. He dealt with the theories of proximity function and complex variable functions in mathematical analysis. His work was related to new directions in the theory of proximity and the theory of complex functions and real variable functions. His contributions to the theory of functions gained international recognition. 

Being a talented mentor and professor, Shahinian was a teacher and research supervisor for many young, gifted mathematicians. He was also known by his speeches and publications on many questions of public importance in Armenia. Well-known Armenian poets, writers, and painters of the time have attested that Shahinian had professional-level knowledge in poetry, history, and arts, which he shared with his students. Among his first students were Sergey Mergelian, Mkhitar Djrbashian, Rafayel Alexandrian, Alexander Talalian, and Norayr Arakelian, who became famous mathematicians, academicians, and the next leaders of the Armenian mathematical school.  

Academician Artashes Shahinian passed away on May 14, 1978, in Yerevan. In the same year, a scholarship was established with his name the school of physics and mathematics founded by his initiative was named after him. Streets in Yerevan and Gyumri have also received the name of Shahinian, and in 1999 a monument was installed in his birthplace.