Born in 1970 in Leningrad.
Graduated from the school number 239 with in-depth study of mathematics and physics.
In 1986 and 1987, won first places at the international mathematics Olympiad for school students.
Graduated from St. Petersburg State University (1992) and obtained a PhD from the California Institute of Technology (1996).
Smirnov spent a significant part of his career in Stockholm, Sweden. He moved to Stockholm in 1998 after holding a J. W. Gibbs instructorship at Yale University and short-term positions at
the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Max Planck Institut, Bonn.
In 1998–2005, was employed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences.
In 2003, he took up his current position as a professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, where he is the Director of the Swiss National Centre for Competence in Research in Mathematics and Physics.
Since 2010, he has run the Chebyshev Laboratory at St. Petersburg State University.
Member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Smirnov works in mathematical physics, probability and analysis.
His research work has been awarded several prizes, including the Fields Medal (2010).