In 1887, graduated from the Khar’kov Technical Institute under A. Liapunov. From 1889-1906, taught mechanics at the same institute, from 1896 as a professor. 1902, doctor of mathematical sciences.
From 1906, at Petersburg University. In 1921, founded the PhysicoMathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences and remained its director until his death, when the Institute was renamed in his honour. Internationally-known mathematician.
Visited the USA, and subsequently wrote To America and Back, My Impressions, 1925.