Problems of Information Transmission, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2004, pp. 1–4. Translated from Problemy Peredachi Informatsii, No. 1, 2004, pp. 3–5.
Original Russian Text Copyright
2004 by Barg et al.
Mark Semenovich Pinsker. In Memoriam
On December 23, 2003, Mark Semenovich Pinsker, aged 78, departed from us. A remarkable
scientist, a kind and sympathetic man, Pinsker was the very soul of our information theory school.
His name is widely known and popular not only among specialists in information theory but among
all scientists interested in probability theory, statistics, coding theory, communication networks, and
so on. The feature that attracted his colleagues most was his depth of penetration into the core
of the problem, combined with an unexpected slant to his thinking that amazed everyone with
its unpredictability. He shared his own scientiﬁc results lavishly, openly, and joyfully, inviting his
colleagues to co-author his achievements. Each opportunity to help them while discussing their
results and conjectures gave him genuine satisfaction. This aid had often been decisive in the
success of their work. His immense input to the development of information theory is appreciated
all over the world. The Shannon Award (1978) and the Hamming Medal (1996) he received speak
for this. He was the ﬁrst to be honored by both.
Pinsker was born in Moscow on April 24, 1925. In 1944, after he graduated from high school
and ﬁnished his service in the Soviet Army, he entered the Moscow Electromechanical Institute of
Railway Transport. After his ﬁrst year of studies, he transferred to the Mathematics and Mechanics
Department of Moscow State University, from which he graduated in 1949. Then, for several years
he taught mathematics at school. In 1955 he started to work at the Laboratory for Development
of Scientiﬁc Problems of Wire Communications, USSR Academy of Sciences, later renamed the
2004 MAIK “Nauka/Interperiodica”