Remembering Boris Dubrovin


With great sadness we announce the passing of Boris Dubrovin, extraordinary mathematical physicist, a great colleague, and friend, after a protracted illness. Boris Dubrovin, professor of Mathematics at SISSA, died on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with ALS. He was 68. Boris arrived at SISSA in 1993 as  distinguished Professor of Mathematical Physics and he served as director of the Mathematical Physics Group and the Mathematics area for several years.
A native of Russian Federation, Boris studied at the Moscow State University where he became full Professor of mathematics in 1988. Boris made exceptional contributions to modern geometry,  as well as to the neighboring fields of mathematical physics and differential  equations. He is best known for inventing and developing the theory of Frobenius manifolds.

Dubrovin's foundational work of Frobenius manifolds was initiated  in the early 90's and it was a crucially important guiding star in the exploration of the mathematical ramification of supersymmetric string and gauge theories that was initiated  around that time by the work of Witten and others. Frobenius manifolds became also the standard language of quantum cohomology and  of the  theory of integrable systems.

For his  scientific achievements  he received a prize of Moscow Mathematical Society in 1976, together with A.Its and I.Krichever. He held an  invited talk at the International Congress of Mathematical Physicists at Swansea (1988), a plenary talk at the European Congress of Mathematicians at Budapest (1996), an invited talk at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin (1998) and a plenary talk at the International Congress of Mathematical Physicists at Rio de Janeiro (2006).

SISSA and the scientific community at large have lost not only an extraordinary mathematical physicist, but also a great colleague and friend, who is leaving behind  25 former Ph.D. students and 15  post docs  who are now working in academia or industry across the world continuing his legacy. He was a generous mentor and inspiring friend. He has been always a very sportive person organizing skiing trips and long walks with the mathematical physics group and his visitors. His tenacity and courage during the illness have been a source of inspiration and admiration for all the friends and colleagues that have been close to him. Boris is survived by his wife Irina and his two daughters Dasha and Lisa.