Vladimir Arnold wrote that Andrei Kolmogorov told him the names of the two mathematicians in conversation with whom he "feels the presence of higher intelligence". One of them is Israel Gelfand.

Who is the second one?

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    $\begingroup$ My guess would be its supposed to be understood as the author. $\endgroup$ – quid Nov 16 '15 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ I am not so sure. The quote is "Andrei Nikolaevich named to me only two mathematicians talking to whom he "felt the presence of higher intelligence" (as one of them he named his student I.M. Gelfand)". Arnold then goes off to talk about Gelfand, and the context does not suggest that he is being modest about himself. Aleksandrov is mentioned two paragraphs down in connection with Gelfand, but not with "higher intelligence". $\endgroup$ – Conifold Nov 17 '15 at 2:55

It is indeed the author. In an interview (see page 41) Arnold is more explicit:

он [Gelfand] был, как и я, учеником Колмогорова – Андрей Николаевич говаривал даже, что «только в беседах с этими двумя учениками испытывал ощущение присутствия высшего разума»

... Gelfand, like me, was Kolmogorov's student - Andrey Nikolayevich even used to say that "only talking to those two students he experienced presence of higher intelligence.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice find! He then says "After my student work on the Hilbert problem Kolmogorov told me that I am no longer his student - he is ready to discuss anything with me, but not as with student but as with independent autonomous researcher". $\endgroup$ – Conifold Nov 18 '15 at 1:26

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