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What are good English-language sources for reading about the Luzin affair?

I'm interested in the subject and am wondering about good historical sources.

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One thing you should keep in mind is that most events and actions cannot be really understood without having a clear idea of what was going on and what life was like at that time. Even I, who was born in St. Petersburg in late 60's had to discuss a few places with my older teachers and colleagues when reading about it and what they said changed my opinions about who was who and who did what a few times. So, by all means, get acquainted with the story, but be very cautious when passing your judgements. –  fedja Oct 19 '13 at 4:35
For the sake of readers it would help if you could tell us briefly what the Luzin affair was. –  Paul Taylor Nov 1 '13 at 9:53
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5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

S. S. Kutateladze, Roots of Luzin’s case, Journal of Applied and Industrial Mathematics, September 2007, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 261-267, http://dx.doi.org/10.1134/S1990478907030015.

Abstract: This is a brief overview of the so-called “case of Academician Luzin” as well as the mathematical and humanitarian roots of the affair.

The following article is not only about the Lusin affair itself, but contains many details on it:

G.G. Lorentz, Mathematics and Politics in the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1953, Journal of Approximation Theory, Volume 116, Issue 2, June 2002, Pages 169–223, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jath.2002.3670

Abstract: The paper describes the influence of politics on the life of Soviet mathematicians in Stalin's era 1928–1953, years that witnessed the full unfolding of the dictator's power. A few years following Stalin's death are also covered. Various publications, private manuscripts, and recollections of my own experiences at the University of Leningrad served as sources. Leading themes include the administrative talent of Egorov, Lusin's School, and the genius of Kolmogorov.

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This is not a direct answer to your question, rather a bit of a tangent. But Luzin and his "name worshipping" play a role in the fascinating book, Naming Infinity, which provides an interesting window on the mathematical and interpersonal atmosphere at the time:
That's Pavel Florensky to the left, who influenced Luzin's mysticism (and Sergei Bulgakov to the right).

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I would like to mention that neither Florensky nor "name worship" were mentioned in the documents on "Luzin's affair". Which suggests that Luzin's religeous views played no role. –  Alexandre Eremenko Oct 15 '13 at 14:28
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Wikipedia article on Luzin mentions several English resources in the section on Luzin affair. (Here is a link to the recent revision of the article, just in case there will be some substantial changes.)

References in English language which are mentioned there, are:

  • Levin, A. E. (1990). "Anatomy of a public campaign: "Academician Luzin`s case" in Soviet political history.". Slavic Review (Slavic Review, Vol. 49, No. 1) 49 (1): 90–108. doi:10.2307/2500418. JSTOR 2500418. Maybe you will find something interesting also in the publications citing this paper.
  • The book Graham L., Kantor J.-M. Naming Infinity: A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity. Belknap Press, Cambridge and London (2009). Google Books link. This book has already been mentioned in another answer.
  • The book Demidov, Sergei S.; Ford, Charles E. (1996). N. N. Luzin and the affair of the "National Fascist Center". San Diego, CA: Academic Press. pp. 137–148. ISBN 5-88812-103-7. MR 1388788.. In History of mathematics: states of the art, edited by Joseph W. Dauben MR 1388780, Google Books link.
  • S.S. Kutateladze, An Epilog to the Luzin Case, Siberian Electronic Mathematical Reports, Vol.10 (2013),A.1-6. The same author also has an article called Roots of Luzin's Case, doi: 10.1134/S1990478907030015.

If you search in Google Books for other books mentioning Luzin affair, you might find some other useful information. And, of course, Google Scholar is worth checking, too.

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See also

MR1388788 Demidov, Sergei S.; Ford, Charles E.: N. N. Luzin and the affair of the "National Fascist Center''. History of mathematics, 137–148, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 1996.

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