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Life story

Nikolai Chernov (from his facebook):

   If the end of the world is near,
                    let us, at least, enjoy it!

  • If you did not come to attend his memorial service on August 9th, 2014 organized by the Math department of UAB, you can still read:
                    The Encomium of Chernov written by his Chairman Rudi Weikard and  John Mayer


  • For a detailed review of his scientific career, please read the following slides given in a memorial seminar dedicated to Chernov at Budapest, 2014:

              (I)       Kolya's acedemic contribution before 1995                      -- by Domokos Szasz

              (II)      Kolya's acedemic contribution from 1995 - 2014             -- by Peter Balint.

  • At the "Dynamical Systems, Ergodic Theory & Probability" conference dedicated to Chernov at UAB,  May 2015. Mathematicians from all over the world came to Birmingham, AL. Below you can find slides from some of the talks:

    *       PartI. Kolya and me: A scientific collaboration;    

                         Part II. Shear Flow;
                         Part III. The Notorious Piston                                                 -- by Joel Lebowitz 

              *         Kolya’s legacy in dynamics and mathematical physics      -- by Dmitry Dolgopyat.

              *        Thermodynamics of the Katok Map                                        --  by Yakov Pesin;

              *       Stochastic Perturbations of Convex Billiards                          --  by Roberto Markarian 

              *          Dynamical Borel-cantelli Lemmas                                          -- by Dmitry Kleinbock

             *        Dispersing Fermi·Ulam Models                                               --  by Jacopo De Simoi 


November 10, 1956
Kolya  was born  in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, the elder son of Ivan and Galina Chernov
Hometown — Kryvyy Rih, Dnipropetrovs'Ka Oblast', Ukraine.

July 1973

Kolya graduated from 95, Kryvyi Rih

Nikolai Chernov (left),with his classmate: Sergey Tkachenkov and Alexander Protsenkov



July 1974

Kolya and other Soviet participants of the international math olympiad in 1974:

Kolya is 2nd from the right in the picture. Also, he won many prizes in math Olympiad.

3rd Prize in 1972, and 1st Prize in 1973 and 1974 in the Ukrainian Mathematical Olympiad.

3rd Prize in 1973 and 1st Prize in 1974 in the Soviet Mathematical Olympiad.

Most amazingly, he won the Bronze Medal (worldly) at the International Math Olympiad in Erfurt in 1974:

Remark: Thanks Prof. Alexander Blokh and Nandor Simanyi for providing us this valuable  information.
August 1, 1977
Kolya went to graduate school at the Moscow State University and was a Junior Research Scientist (1977–1983). His Ph.D. Advisor was Prof. Ya. G. Sinai. The Ph.D. thesis title was "Ergodic and Entropy properties of billiard-type dynamical systems." His Ph.D. degree in mathematics was received in 1984.

Kolya was a Research Scientist at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, USSR) from 1983 to 1991;
July 1983
Kolya Graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University



Kolya was a part-time instructor at MIREA of Moscow, USSR from 1987-1991

Kolya was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1991-1992, where he worked with Prof. Lai-Sang Young. 
August 1992
Kolya was a Visiting Senior Research Scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga, USA, in 1992-1993, where he worked with Prof. Bunimovich. 
August 1993
Kolya was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA, in 1993-1994; where he worked with SInai and other colleagues there.

August 1994

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Chernov jointed  the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, since 1994, as an Assistant Professor. He then promoted toan Associate professor after only two years. He was promoted to full Professor in 1999.

Professor Chernov's main area of expertise is dynamical systems. His secondary areas of expertise include statistical mechanics, probability, and statistics. In statistics he is specialized in image-processing algorithms and errors-in-variables regression analysis.


Internal (at UAB)
2005-2014 Advisor for graduate students (on MA level)
2005-2010 Member of Hiring Committee
2004-2005 Organizer of Departmental Colloquium
2001-2002 Member of (extended) VIGRE Steering Committee
2000-2001 Member of Faculty Affairs Committee
1998-2002 Member of Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
1997-1998 Member of Hiring Committee
1996-1997 Member of Hiring Committee
1995-1996 Member of Computer Project Committee
1994-1995 Member of Hiring Committee

2012 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
2011 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
2010-... Member of Editorial Board of Chaos, Solitons & Fractals
2010-2011 Member of PhD committee for a Computer Science student
2010 Member of MA committee for a Forensic Science student
2009 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
2006 Member of PhD committee for a UA student
2006 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
2005 Member of MA committee for a biostatistics student
2005 Member of organizing committee for the conference in DE at UAB
2003 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
2002 Member of  Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ)
2000-... Member of Editorial Board of Annales of Henri Poincare
2000-... Member of Editorial Board of Empire of Mathematics
2000 Head of Organizing Committee for AMS Meeting (Birmingham, AL)
2000 Co-organizer of Special Session at AMS Meeting (Birmingham, AL)
2000 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
1997-2000 Member of Editorial Board of Journal of Statistical Physics
1998 External Member of Graduate Committee, UNT, Texas
1997 NSF Panelist in Dynamical Systems and Ergodic Theory
1997 Co-organizer of Special Session at AMS Meeting (Memphis, TN)
1996 Co-organizer of Mini-Conference in Dynamical Systems, UAB


2013-2016 NSF, DMS-1301537 PI
2010-2013 NSF, DMS-0969187 PI
2007-2010 NSF, DMS-0652896 PI
2004-2007 NSF, DMS-0354775 PI
2001-2004 NSF, DMS-0098788 PI
1998-2001 NSF, DMS-9732728 PI
1996-1998 NSF, DMS-9622547 PI
1994-1996 NSF, DMS-9401417 co-PI

August 2002
Kolya was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies (Princeton, NJ, USA) in 2002

November 6, 2004
November 6, 2004
With Markarian at Little River Canyon National Preserve: Desoto Falls, Mentone, Alabama Laurel Creek and in West Fork Little river

July 2006

Chaotic Billiards Hardcover – July 26, 2006

January 22, 2007

Chaotic billiards

Introductory Workshop On Dynamical Systems With Emphasis On Extended Systems January 22, 2007 - January 26, 2007

Speaker(s): Nikolai Chernov 
Location: MSRI: Simons Auditorium
Click below for the Quicktime video of his lecture (you need Quicktime installed on your computer to view it):  

Video of his lecture

Here is the lecture notes he gave at the workshop on chaotic billiards.

July 2008
With family at Arizona

with family at Arizona
March 3, 2009

Brownian Brownian Motion-I (Memoirs of the American Mathematical Society)

by N. Chernov and D. Dolgopyat

A classical model of Brownian motion consists of a heavy molecule submerged into a gas of light atoms in a closed container. In this work the authors study a 2D version of this model, where the molecule is a heavy disk of mass M 1 and the gas is represented by just one point particle of mass m = 1, which interacts with the disk and the walls of the container via elastic collisions. Chaotic behavior of the particles is ensured by convex (scattering) walls of the container. The authors prove that the position and velocity of the disk, in an appropriate time scale, converge, as M, to a Brownian motion (possibly, inhomogeneous); the scaling regime and the structure of the limit process depend on the initial conditions. The proofs are based on strong hyperbolicity of the underlying dynamics, fast decay of correlations in systems with elastic collisions (billiards), and methods of averaging theory.

May 31, 2010
   Kolya attended conference "Hyperbolic Dynamical Systems in the Sciences", Corinaldo (Italy), organized by Marco Lenci.

Here are four pictures of Kolya (or 
with Kolya in them) from this conference in
Italy. Kolya was respected and very much liked in every corner of the world, including Italy.

Kolya with Lai-Sang

Kolya with Marco

Kolya going to talks

Kolya with other mathematicians, he is the first on the left bottom row.

June 2, 2010

Circular and Linear Regression: Fitting Circles and Lines by Least Squares 

by Nikolai Chernov

Editorial Reviews


Overall, the book provides an excellent reference for those interested in the geometric, algebraic, and numerical aspects of fitting lines, curves, and circles to data. It gives an insightful discussion of the geometric and algebraic aspects of measurement error models and provides a thorough discussion of the various algorithms for fitting such models to data, by offering advice and comparisons concerning their strengths and weaknesses under different circumstances.
Journal of the American Statistical Association, 2012

… the book contains useful insights and will be of benefit to those interested in the theoretical aspects of fitting lines and circles to data. Some mathematical background is assumed by the author, but the book is written excellently and the exposition is clearly structured. The book is unique in the way that it has brought together a variety of topics into one volume of work. I would recommend that statisticians who are interested in measurement error models, and those who are interested in fitting circles to data (such as those working in computer vision) at the very least investigate this book.
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A, July 2011

December 5, 2011

January 1, 2012
Nikolai Chernov was at Arches National Park.
May 9, 2012
Status Update
By Nikolai Chernov (from facebook):

     Bought a used car a month ago (2008 Saab), which for some reason had just one key. So I wanted to order a second key. Turned out that the key has an electronic circuit and is only produced by the Saab manufacturer in Sweden, which has run out of stock long ago and has not supplied keys to the US for 3 months. The dealer did not have keys, but he gave me phone numbers of local locksmiths who might have such keys. One of them did, but he asked $500 for it. After some hesitation I agreed. They said they would bring the key to my place "first thing in the morning" and programm it for the car. At 9:00 they called to say "the technician is coming

    At 11:00 I called them to learn that "the technicin is finishing another job he started yesterday and will be at your place by noon". At 1:00 I called again and told them that they should give me a discount for waiting so long, because I am not sure anymore that I want that key... At 3:00 the technician finally called and said that he was ready to come. When I mentioned discount and me not wanting that key, he replied, with relief in his voice: "Good. I can sell this key to somebody else for $1000. Bye!" That was an interesting experience..:-))
May 18, 2012
Status Update
By Nikolai Chernov (from facebook):
Ok, three days left until my BIG TRIP. On May 22, will drive my car to the West. First going to Moab, Utah, to visit the most unique Arches Natl Park (inspirational). Then to Farmington, NM, from which I will visit the wilderness areas of Bisti, Denazin, and Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. Very beautiful but remote and hard to access (no trails exist or even good maps). Lastly, I plan a hike across Grand Canyon. On June 1, going from North Rim to South Rim (24 miles long trail, 6000 feet down and then 5000 feet up). Then on June 3 going back to North Rim (5000 feet down and then 6000 feet up). It is called Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim hike (R2R2R). Some people say it is crazy. We will see. By June 10 should be back home (or whatever is left of me).
May 24, 2012
From the album: Timeline Photos
By Nikolai Chernov
Here is a progress report of my big trip..:-) Roamed through the wilderness of Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah, see a picture of bizarre rock formations. Arrived in Moab. Winds up to 50 mph..
May 26, 2012

From the album: Timeline Photos
By Nikolai Chernov (on facebook)
Today, in Canyonlands National Park, I heard a ranger saying: "Yesterday we had winds at 55 mph, I could not even open the door... Today they changed the forecast to 75 mph, so it is gonna be worse..." It was indeed nearly a sandstorm, but it was fun to hike (picture taken by cell phone).
June 1, 2012
Status Update
By Nikolai Chernov (from his facebook):
Attempt to hike across Grand Canyon ended in total disaster. North Kaibab Trail (the only trail going from the North Rim down to Colorado River at the bottom) was closed by the park authorities today, just a few hours before I was about to start the hike. A major accident occurred yesterday on the trail: water pipe broke, and the spillage caused a collapse of a section of the trail. Now the trail is closed. So no hike. Going home... End of story...:-(
August 2012

July 1, 2014
16 Student Ratings from Rate my professors:

*  Very clear, straight to the point. Gives homework and quizzes that are identical to tests, so make sure you study using old hmwk and quizzes! Very calm and friendly, funny too.

* Good statistics teacher and a good guy. He bends over backward to help students. His syllabus is detailed and he sticks to it. He publishes study guides for exams. He post tests from previous classes online. He has an accent but is rarely hard to understand.

* Best math instructor at UAB, and one of the best math instructors I ever had. He is crystal clear, he constantly gives examples, he works out the problems in class step by step. He always answers questions, and is overall just a nice guy and a good teacher.

* I'm not so great at math and originallyand didn't do so well. but dr. chernov makes the material very clear (plus his accent isn't that hard to understand). he's very helpful and prepares you well. if you can, def take from him!

Very instructional teacher. His accent will be troublesome at first, but its easy to catch on to. Very bright and kind-hearted.

* Dr Chernov is a great teacher. He explains things well, and gives optional graded homework. The tests are scaled and he is generous with partial credit. I had to work really hard in this class but I think that is more of a reflection of the difficulty of the course, and I am not naturally good at math. I would take him again if possible.

July 30, 2014


Houssam Abdul-Rahman



Alexey Korepanov


Ph.D. 2013

Qizhuo Huang


Ph.D. 2012

Hui Ma


Ph.D. 2012

Ali Al-Sharadqah


Ph.D. 2011

Hongkun Zhang


Ph.D. 2005

Chad Wilson


M.S.  2004

Claire Lesort


Ph.D. 2004

Henry van den Bedem


Ph.D. 1999


from:  Nikolai Chernov <>
to:  Chernov's students
date:  Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:48 AM
subject:  update...

Dear students, I am very sorry to bring this to you, but my health problems suddenly turned much worse. I have now a liver cancer in pretty bad shape, it cannot be cured anymore. 
I was really happy to have you all as my grad students, and glad that you all successfully graduated and have now good jobs. Keep it up. 
best wishes

N. Chernov 

CryCryCryCryCry CryCryCryCryCry CryCryCryCryCry 

Dear Dr. Chernov,    

We miss you and you will be in our hearts forever.

So proudly to be ----
                            your students!

August 7, 2014