150 years since the birth of Mihailo Petrović Alas

This year, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Serbian mathematicians are marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Academician Mihailo Petrović Alas (1868‒1943), the great Serbian mathematician and founder of the Serbian School of Mathematics. Academician Petrović was not only a prominent mathematics professor at the University of Belgrade, but also a man of letters, philosopher, musician, fisherman, globetrotter and travel writer. He was a student of the renowned French mathematicians Henri Poincaré, Charles Hermite and Charles Émile Picard. Petrović made a significant contribution to the fields of differential equations, complex and numerical analyses, geometry of polynomials, and mathematical phenomenology. He designed and constructed several analogue calculating machines and served as the chief cryptographer of the Serbian and Yugoslav military until World War II.

However, the establishment of the Serbian School of Mathematics is regarded as Professor Petrović’s greatest achievement. The school has produced a large number of good mathematicians, whose achievements contributed not only to the development of mathematics in Serbia, but worldwide.

In the month of May, the anniversary will be marked at the SASA Gallery of Visual Arts and Music through a presentation of the evolution of mathematics in Serbia since the end of the 19th century, when Professor Petrović first burst onto the scientific scene, his overall scientific work, as well as the most significant mathematical achievements of his successors.