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Dr Vadim Kuznetsov

Vadim Kuznetsov

Many colleagues will be aware that, sadly, Dr Vadim Kuznetsov, Reader in the School of Mathematics (Department of Applied Mathematics), died on 16 December 2005.

Born in Leningrad (St Petersburg), Vadim Kuznetsov attended Leningrad University graduating with an MSc in Theoretical Physics in 1986. He went on to read for a Candidate Sci (PhD) degree which he was awarded in 1990 for a dissertation on applications of the inverse scattering method to classical and quantum integrable systems. He spent the next three years on the research staff of Leningrad University before taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Amsterdam to work on a project, directed by Professor T H Koornwinder, to study special functions and the quantum inverse scattering method. He greatly impressed his colleagues with his work on this project; the two years of his Fellowship proved a very productive period, marked by a number of valuable papers. He was subsequently appointed, in April 1995, to a six-month postdoctoral position in the Institute of Mathematical Modelling at the Technical University of Denmark, where, in addition to leading a series of seminars, he successfully pursued his research into separation of variables methodology. He followed this with four months at the University of Montreal.

Equipped with a formidable and wide range of research skills, much of it at the meeting point of mathematics and physics, Vadim Kuznetsov was ideally qualified to join an EPSRC research project in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Leeds in 1996, the purpose of which was to investigate integrable discrete many-body systems and their relations to quadratic algebras. Supervised by Professor F W Nijhoff, this project proved extremely successful. Vadim Kuznetsovs own contribution was regarded as outstanding, particularly with regard to the development of separation of variables and Bcklund transformation techniques. In order to be able to extend his research in these areas, he successfully applied for both an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship and a University Research Fellowship in 1999. Following several more years of very fruitful research, he was promoted to Reader in Applied Analysis in August 2003.

Vadim Kuznetsov published extensively, with well over forty articles in leading journals, a considerable number of which are single-author papers. His international reputation was manifest in the many invitations that he received to speak at workshops and conferences both here and overseas; in the distinguished scholars including the world authority Professor Evgeni Sklyanin, his one-time PhD referee who chose to collaborate with him; and in his extensive involvement in refereeing papers for a range of top-class journals. He served for five years as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Physics A and was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1999. He was a superb conference organiser and, in April 2000, organised a highly successful International Workshop on Mathematical Methods of Regular Dynamics, held to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the pioneering mathematician, Sophie Kowalevskaya. Two substantial collections of articles edited by Dr Kuznetsov (in one case jointly with F W Nijhoff) resulted from the workshop.

In 2003, Vadim Kuznetsov was the driving force and principal organiser of a workshop, held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, celebrating the fundamental work of H. Jack, P. Hall, D.E. Littlewood and I.G. Macdonald on symmetric groups. This workshop not only provided a platform for discussion of the latest developments but also paid a 25th anniversary tribute to the pioneering but previously unpublished work of the late Henry Jack, a Reader in Mathematics at the University of Dundee, who died in 1978. An important monograph on this Workshop, edited by Dr Kuznetsov and S. Sahi of Rutgers University, U.S.A, is shortly to go to press with the American Mathematical Society.

As a further indication of Vadim Kuznetsov's international reputation; he was commissioned by the Royal Society to edit a special issue of the proceedings devoted to the modern theory of separation of variables. This too is shortly to be published.

If all these activities and projects were not enough to secure his outstanding legacies to the Mathematical community, Dr Kuznetsov collaborated with Professor B D Sleeman in writing the chapter on Heun Functions for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, project.

He was a member of the EPSRC Mathematics College and also obtained funding from the London Mathematical Society, the Royal Society and other bodies to bring leading overseas mathematicians to Leeds for research collaborations.

Vadim Kuznetsov was a mathematician of genuine distinction and international standing. Widely regarded as one of the most talented young scientists working in the field of integrable systems, his research led to a number of fundamental and far-reaching contributions that are likely to prove of enduring significance for his subject. He was admired and respected within the School of Mathematics, as indeed he was by his many friends outside the University, for his invariably helpful, constructive and exceedingly well-informed approach to issues. His loss will be keenly felt throughout the mathematics community.

Vadim Kuznetsov is survived by his wife, Olga, and son, Simon.