Person: Thiele, Thorvald Nicolai
Thorvald Thiele was a Danish mathematician and astronomer. He worked in statistics, interpolation and the three-body problem.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Thorvald Thiele's name requires an explanation.
- He was named after Bertel Thorvaldsen, a sculptor who was the first internationally acclaimed Danish artist.
- Thorvaldsen was born in around 1770 so was 68 years old when Thiele was born.
- Thiele studied astronomy at the University of Copenhagen and from there he obtained his Master's Degree in 1860.
- In 1875 Thiele was appointed as Director of the Astronomical Observatory at the University of Copenhagen, a post which he held until he retired in 1907.
- As Director of the Astronomical Observatory Thiele had an interest in astronomy.
- In 1895 Thiele showed that singularities in the motion of such a system could often be removed by a suitable transformation allowing the motion of bodies after a collision to be studied.
- Although, as we have said, this differential equation is Thiele's most significant contribution to actuarial science, he never published the result.
- We know of it through J P Gram who was shown the result by Thiele.
- Thiele emphasised that old age is the destiny of us all, as opposed to disability or premature death, which is a random phenomenon.
- Thiele's importance as a theoretician lies therefore more in the original ideas he stated than his formulations, and his ideas were in many respects not only original but far ahead of his time.
- As a final comment, we note that Thiele was an excellent chess player and an active member of the first Danish chess club founded in 1865.
Born 24 December 1838, Copenhagen, Denmark. Died 26 September 1910, Copenhagen, Denmark.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Denmark
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive