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NICOLAS IVANOVICH LOBACHEVSKIY (1793-...

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 836 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NICOLAS IVANOVICH LOBACHEVSKIY (1793-1856), Russian mathematician, was born at Makariev, Nizhniy-Novgorod, on the and of November (N.S.) 1793. His father died about 'Soo, and his mother, who was left in poor circumstances, removed to Kazan with her three sons. In 1807 Nicolas, the second boy, entered as a student in the University of Kazan, then recently established. Five years later, having completed the curriculum, he began to take part in the teaching, becoming assistant professor in 1814 and extraordinary professor two years afterwards. In 1823 he succeeded to the ordinary professorship of mathematics, and retained the chair until about 1846, when he seems to have fallen into official disfavour. At that time his connexion with the university to which he had devoted his life practically came to an end, except that in 1855, at the celebration of his jubilee, he brought it as a last tribute his Pangeometrie, in which he summarized the results of his geometrical studies. This work was translated into German by H. Liebmann in 1902. He died at Kazan on the 24th of February (N.S.) 1856. Lobachevskiy was one of the first thinkers to apply a critical treatment to the fundamental axioms of geometry, and he thus became a pioneer of the modern geometries which deal with space other than as treated by Euclid. His first contribution to non-Euclidian geometry is the subject is treated in many of his subsequent memoirs, among which may be mentioned the Geometrische Untersuchungen zur Theorie derParallellinien (Berlin, 184o, and a new edition in 1887), and the Pangeometrie already referred to, which in the sub-title is described as a precis of geometry founded on a general and rigorous theory of parallels. (See GEOMETRY, § Non-Euclidean, and GEOMETRY, § Axioms of.) In addition to his geometrical studies, he made various contributions to other branches of mathematical science, among them being an elaborate treatise on algebra (Kazan, 1834). Besides being a geometer of power and originality, Lobachevskiy was an excellent man of business. Under his administration the University of Kazan prospered as it had never done before; and he not only organized the teaching staff to a high degree of efficiency, but arranged and enriched its library, furnished instruments for its observatory, collected specimens for ifs museums and provided it with proper buildings. In order to be able to supervise the erection of the last, he studied architecture, with such effect, it is said, that he was able to carry out the plans at a cost considerably below the original estimates. See F. Engel, N. I. Lobalchewsky (Leipzig, 1899). LOBANOV-ROETOVSKI, ALEXIS BORISOVICH, PRINCE (1824-1896), Russian statesman, was born on the 30th of December 1824, and educated, like Prince Gorchakov and so many other eminent Russians, at the lyceum of Tsarskoe Selo. At the age of twenty he entered the diplomatic service, and became minister at Constantinople in 1859. In 1863 a regrettable incident in his private life made him retire temporarily from the public service, but four years later he re-entered it and served for ten years as adlatus to the minister of the interior. At the close of the Russo-Turkish war in 1878 he was selected by the emperor to fill the post of ambassador at Constantinople, and for more than a year he carried out with great ability the policy of his government, which aimed at re-establishing tram quillity in the Eastern Question, after the disturbances produced by the reckless action of his predecessor, Count Ignatiev. In 1879 he was transferred to London, and in 1882 to Vienna; and in March 1895 he was appointed minister of foreign affairs in succession to M. de Giers. In this position he displayed much of the caution of his predecessor, but adopted a more energetic policy in European affairs generally and especially in the Balkan Peninsula. At the time of his appointment the attitude of the Russian government towards the Slav nationalities had been for several years one of extreme reserve, and he had seemed as ambassador to sympathize with this attitude. But as soon as he became minister of foreign affairs, Russian influence in the Balkan Peninsula suddenly revived. Servia received financial assistance; a large consignment of arms was sent openly from St Petersburg to the prince of Montenegro; Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria became ostensibly reconciled with the Russian emperor, and his son Boris was received into the astern Orthodox Church; the Russian embassy at Constantinople tried to bring about a reconciliation between the Bulgarian exarch and the oecumenical patriarch; Bulgarians and Servians professed, at the bidding of Russia, to lay aside their mutual hostility. All this seemed to foreshadow the creation of a Balkan confederation hostile to Turkey, and the sultan had reason to feel alarmed. In reality Prince Lobanov was merely trying to establish a strong Russian hegemony among these nationalities, and he had not the slightest intention of provoking a new crisis in the Eastern Question so long as the general European situation did not afford Russia a convenient opportunity for solving it in her own interest without serious intervention from other powers. Meanwhile he considered that the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire must be maintained so far as these other powers were concerned. Accordingly, when Lord Salisbury proposed energetic action to protect the Armenians, the cabinet of St Petersburg suddenly assumed the role of protector of the sultan and vetoed the proposal. At the same time efforts were made to weaken the Triple Alliance, the principal instrument employed being the. entente with France, which Prince Lobanov helped to convert into a formal alliance between the two powers. In the Far East he was not less active, and became the protector of China in the same sense as he had shown himself the protector of Turkey. Japan was compelled to give up her conquests on the Chinese mainland, so as not to interfere with the future action of Russia in Manchuria, and the financial and other schemes for increasing Russian influence in that part of the world were vigorously supported. All this activity, though combined with a haughty tone towards foreign governments and diplomatists, did not produce much general apprehension, probably because there was a widespread conviction that he desired to maintain peace, and that his great ability and strength of character would enable him to control the dangerous forces which he boldly set in motion. However this may be, before he had time to mature his schemes, and when he had been the director of Russian policy for only eighteen months, he died suddenly of heart disease when travelling with the emperor on the 3oth of August 1896. Personally Prince Lobanov was a grand seigneur of the Russian type, proud of being descended from the independent princes of Rostov, and at the same time an amiable man of wide culture, deeply versed in Russian history and genealogy, and perhaps the first authority of his time in all that related to the reign of the emperor Paul. (D. M. W.)
End of Article: NICOLAS IVANOVICH LOBACHEVSKIY (1793-1856)
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