From 1953 to 1962, Norair U. Arakelian (* 17 July 1936 in Yerevan, Armenia) studied mathematics and physics at Yerevan State University. He completed his studies with his dissertation "Tangential and Uniform Approximation By Entire Functions in The Camplex Domain" as a "Candidate of Mathematical-Physical Sciences". After his studies in Yerevan, Arakelian went to Moscow, where he worked at the Steklov Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Here he began his research on approximation theory in the leading and famous school under Mstislav Keldysh. ln this period he wrote his second dissertation entitled "Some Problems of Approximation Theory and Theory of Entire Functions", for which he was awarded a doctorate in 1970.
ln 1974 - 1989 Arakelian was Vice-Director of the Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences and has been Director since 1989 with interruptions from 1991 - 1993 (as Rector of Yerevan State University) and from 1994 - 1997 (as President of the Association of Armenian Mathematicians).
He has received numerous awards for his work. Among others, he was the winner of the Komsomol Prize of 1969- 1970 as the best young mathematician in the USSR. He became a corresponding member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences in 1974, a professor of the Academy in 1989 and a full member since 1990.
On 9 October 2003, Norair Arakelian was honourably awarded for his scientific achievements at the highest level by the President of the Republic of Armenia and in the presence of the directors of numerous foreign academies. The Order of Merit in question was created especially for the person of Norair Arakelian.
On 9 June 2004, Prof. Dr. Norair U. Arakelian was awarded an honorary doctorate by Faculty IV. This title was awarded to him for his outstanding scientific achievements, as well as his exceptional personality.
Norair Arakelian's field of research covers the theory of functions of a complex variable in general and the approximation of such functions in particular. Arakelian has achieved results of a pioneering character; in numerous cases long outstanding problems have eventually been solved and in the best possible way. However, his works have also given impulses in areas that are far from topics of function theory and approximation theory. Here, too, the best possible results could often be achieved.
With the work of Norair Arakelian, results of indisputably high rank are available, which have proved to be fundamental for the development of modern function theory and approximation theory. Numerous other, hitherto unsolved problems in these areas could only be solved by applying Arakelian's theorems. A whole series of meanwhile familiar technical terms is closely connected with the name Arakelian (Arakelian approximation theorem, Arakelian set, Arakelian "glove", tangential approximation).
For quite some time, Arakelian's research results have had an influence on the investigations of the Analysis Working Group of Department IV. From about 1997 onwards, an intensive and very successful cooperation with Prof. Dr. Arakelian, his co-workers and students began. By coupling the Trier methods with the techniques of the Arakelian school, essential, substantial results were obtained that neither group would have obtained alone.
Arakelian would have had several opportunities to work in excellently remunerated positions at universities in Canada or the USA. Nevertheless, he remained in Armenia - where external working conditions are still very limited - to share his own mathematical inspirations with young scientists in his homeland. His great - also extra-mathematical - education, as well as his modesty and warm-heartedness create an intellectual atmosphere in which young mathematicians can fully develop their own talents - even under the given extremely difficult secondary conditions.