Mihailo Petrović Alas: The Progenitor Of The Serbian School Of Mathematics

Од 15. маја до 22. јуна

First professors of the University of Belgrade: Mihailo Petrović Alas (first on the right)

Authors: Žarko Mijajlović, Marija Šegan Radonjić and Stevan Mićić
Co-author: Maja Novaković

The exhibition dedicated to Mihailo Petrović Alas, organized by the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, is one of the main events marking the 150th anniversary of his birth. 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.

The exhibition will showcase the most important works by and details from the rather interesting and unconventional life of Mihailo Petrović. Visitors will be able to see Petrović’s original documents and objects kept in Serbian archives, museums and libraries (SASA Archives, Library and Art Collection; Digital Library of the Faculty of Mathematics; Archives of Serbia; Svetozar Marković University Library: Adligat Book Museum; and the Legacy of Mihailo Petrović in the Mihailo Petrović Alas Elementary School).

The aim of the exhibition is to present the oeuvre of Mihailo Petrović Alas and 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. It is intended not only for specialists, experts and researchers, but also for the public at large, particularly pupils and secondary school and university students.

The exhibition is accompanied by a rich program of events. There are guided tours every day at 1 and 7 p.m., except Thursdays, when it is only at 1 p.m., and Mondays, when the Gallery is closed to the public. The working hours of the Gallery are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.