On April 25, Skoltech hosted the grand opening of the VR Kolmogorov exhibition, showcasing the life and work of the great 20th-century mathematician. The project was produced as part of the Decade of Science and Technology in Russia.
The VR Kolmogorov opening is one of a series of commemorative events marking Kolmogorov’s 120th birthday. The guests, including Kolmogorov’s students, toured the exhibition and used VR headsets to immerse themselves in the mathematical world of the mid-20th century.
A virtual tour of Kolmogorov and Alexandrov’s house in Komarovka and the great scholar’s family history, reconstructed from local archives, form the core of VR Kolmogorov. Skoltech partnered with the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of RAS (MIAN) to digitize the famous house, which has been restored and is maintained by Kolmogorov’s student, academician Albert Shiryaev, who also acted as a Komarovka guide and narrator in the Russian version of the tour.
“By opening VR Kolmogorov at Skoltech, we celebrate the 120th birthday of the outstanding scholar, academician Andrey Kolmogorov. The exhibition offers insight into his life and work, as well as a tour of the Komarovka house where he lived and worked alongside his friend Pavel Alexandrov from 1935,” Shiryaev said at the ceremony, sharing his personal memories of Kolmogorov.
The project team used archival documents from Yaroslavl, Tambov, and other local sources to trace Kolmogorov’s family history, which, along with his impressive scholarly legacy, is presented in digital format in VR Kolmogorov.
“Andrey Kolmogorov is a true legend. One of the top two or three mathematicians of the 20th century, he embraced mathematics in its entirety, which is indeed the rarest quality. His impact on the mathematical world was overwhelming. We have spent several years building this unique exhibition where anyone involved in or wishing to connect with mathematics can experience the atmosphere in which the great scholar lived and worked. Here anyone can take a virtual tour of the Kolmogorov memorial house using the VR system,” said Alexander Kuleshov, the Skoltech president and a full member of RAS.
Another unique feature of VR Kolmogorov is that it is “written” by the great mathematician’s hand. The project team digitized his handwriting and created the KolmogorovType font, which is used both in the interactive project and throughout the exhibition.
An epigraph to Kolmogorov’s diary in KolmogorovType on the door. “Dedicated to myself for my eightieth one hundred twentieth birthday with the wish to preserve enough sense by this time at least to understand the writings of myself at forty years old and judge them with sympathy, but also with severity.”
The festivities continued with the scientific conference “Kolmogorov-120. Skoltech,” featuring a series of presentations which, according to the organizers, Kolmogorov would have loved to listen to.
More events dedicated to Kolmogorov’s anniversary will follow in 2023. For example, in September, the Demidov Yaroslavl State University will host the Kolmogorov scientific session and open a local branch of VR Kolmogorov.