Bogdan Gavrilović was born in Novi Sad on January 1, 1864. Top of the class in his generation, after completing secondary education he was sent by Tekelianum (a Serbian educational institution) to study at the Philosophical Faculty of the University in Budapest, where he obtained doctor's degree in mathematics in 1887. In the same year he was appointed professor at the High School in Belgrade which in 1905 was promoted to the University of Belgrade. He lived in Belgrade until his death in 1947, active as university professor until 1941. Before the turn of the century he had published two voluminous university textbooks which had the charachter of monographs: Analytical Geometry (1896) on 900 pages, andTheory of Determinants (1899) on linear agebra. Both works may be considered as capital works in mathematics in Serbia. Academician Radivoj Kašanin thus wrote of the two books: Both, especially the latter, would do honour to any nation, and many countries, at that time more powerful and luckier than us, could not boast of such works.
For a whole decade at the beginning of the 20th century he was busy mostly with scientific subjects, publishing a score of excellent treatises, mainly in the periodical Glas, organ of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, and Rad of the Yugoslav Academy of sciences and Arts in Zagreb. His interest was in the fields of algebra (theory of numbers and linear algebra), analytical geometry and theory of functions. He was elected member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences in 1901 and of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences in 1906. He later expanded into foundations of mathematics.
Professor Gavrilović was an excellent organiser of scientific work at the Belgrade Unviersity and in the Academy. He made a great contribution to the promotion of High School into the University of Belgrade, and subsequently as rector, to the raising of teaching levels and university's development. Also he was three times (1931-1937) elected president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences. In 1894 he founded the mathematical library of the Department of Mathematics which was unfortunately destroyed at the end of the Second World War. With Mihailo Petrović and Milutin Milanković, he takes credit for introducing modern mathematics in Serbia at the beginning of this century.
Academician Gavrilović held many important scientific and social functions and received a number of high honours. In addition to those mentioned above, he was member of Circolo matematico di Palermo, doctor honoris causa of the University of Athens, president of the Nikola Tesla Society, and director of The Nikola Tesla Institute. He was also one of the founders of the Mathematical Institute in Belgrade (1946).
Bogdan Gavrilović was an eminent educationist and cultural worker who had strong views on many important questions concerning national life, politics, history and philosophy. As a universal spirit, he did not take a narrow view of his science but regarded it in the light of other sciences and culture in general. Bearing witness to this are his numerous lectures, speeches and writings. As a member of an exclusive Belgrade intellectual circle, he helped to create a special atmosphere thanks to which Belgrade became one of the centres of scientific work.
His bibliography is found here.
Author: Mijajlović, Žarko