Lev Abolnikov

Office of the President
Feb. 22, 2019

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Lev Abolnikov, emeritus professor of mathematics, died Feb. 18, 2019, at his home in St. Louis, Missouri, after a short illness. He was 82 years old.

In his 30 years at LMU, Professor Abolnikov taught a variety of classes, ranging from pre-calculus to senior-level courses, as well as graduate courses during the years that LMU offered a master’s degree in mathematics. He was a dedicated teacher who successfully experimented with new approaches and incorporated his scholarly work into his curriculum. Professor Abolnikov served as editor of the departmental newsletter, AfterMATH, chaired the department’s graduate committee, and was the organizer of the applied math seminar. In 1984, Professor Abolnikov organized the department’s annual Math Olympics competition, which he ran until 2008. He also served on the University Research and the University Library committees.

Professor Abolnikov’s research in probability and statistics, queuing theory, operations research and their application is extensive and is highly regarded. He published more than 50 scholarly articles and a book, some with co-authors from around the world. For 25 years he was an associate editor of the international Journal of Applied Mathematics and Stochastic Analysis, and he wrote for Mathematical Reviews, the searchable database of scholarly article reviews in the mathematical sciences.

Professor Abolnikov was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He earned his Ph.D. from the USSR Engineering Academy of Management and Communications Science in 1970 and his M.S. from the University of Leningrad in 1961. Motivated by social injustices of the times, Professor Abolnikov immigrated to the United States in 1980. His first U.S. position was a joint one at Harvey Mudd College and the Claremont Graduate University. A year later, he joined the faculty at LMU.

A funeral for Professor Abolnikov will be held next week in St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donations be made in Professor Abolnikov’s honor to the nonprofit Make Music St. Louis, Inc., which was founded by his daughter, Nika Leoni, and produces music and educational outreach programs. Professor Abolnikov, in addition to his mathematical renown, was a cellist; in his youth, he considered a musical career. Donations can be made online or by check to: Make Music St. Louis, Inc., 3547 Olive Street, Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63103.

Please keep Lev, his family, and his many friends in your thoughts and prayers.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.