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Sofya Aleksandrovna Yanovskaya (also Janovskaja; Russian: Софья Александровна Яновская; 31 January 1896 – 24 October 1966) was a mathematician and historian, specializing in the history of mathematics, mathematical logic, and philosophy of mathematics. She is best known for her efforts of restoring mathematical logic research in the USSR and publishing and editing mathematical works of Karl Marx.


Yanovskaya was born in Pruzhany, a village near Brest, to a Jewish family of accountant Alexander Neimark. From 1914 to 1918 she studied in a woman's college in Odessa, when she became a communist. She worked as a party official until 1924, when she started teaching at the Institute of Red Professoriate. With exception of the war years (1941–1943), she worked at Moscow State University until retirement.

She received her doctoral degree in 1935. Her work on Karl Marx's mathematical manuscripts began in 1930s and made a big impact on the study of non-standard analysis, especially in China (see Dauben's article). In the academia she is most remembered now for her work on history and philosophy of mathematics, as well as for her influence on young generation of researchers. She persuaded Ludwig Wittgenstein when he was visiting USSR in 1935 to give up his idea to relocate to the USSR.

For her work, Yanovskaya received the Order of Lenin and other medals. She died from diabetes in Moscow.


  • I.H. Anellis, The heritage of S.A. Janovskaja. History and Philosophy of Logic 8 (1987), 45-56.
  • B.A. Kushner, Sof'ja Aleksandrovna Janovskaja: a few reminiscences, Modern Logic, vol.6 (1996), 67-72.
  • J.W. Dauben, Marx, Mao and mathematics: the politics of infinitesimals, Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians, Vol. III (Berlin, 1998), Doc. Math. 1998, Extra Vol. III, 799-809.
  • V.A. Bazhanov. Essays on the Social History of Logic in Russia. Simbirsk-Ulyanovsk, 2002. Chapter 5 (bibliography of S.A. Yanovskaya's works is presented here). (in Russian).
  • B.V. Biryukov and L.G. Biryukova, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Sof'ya Aleksandrovna Yanovskaya. The "Cambridge Genius" becomes acquainted with Soviet mathematicians in the 1930s (in Russian). Logical investigations. No. 11 (Russian), 46-94, "Nauka", Moscow, 2004.

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