Israel Moiseevich Gel’fand (Израиль Гельфанд, 1913–2009) played a preeminent role in Russian mathematics for many years. His legendary seminar in Moscow ran for 50 years, and set the pattern for many others, including Sullivan’s seminar at CUNY and Drinfeld’s at Chicago. His name is attached to many mathematical achievements, including
the Gelfand-Naimark-Segal construction describing general C-algebras,
He helped write a 5-volume work on distribution theory.