Person: Van Dantzig, David
David van Dantzig was a Dutch mathematician who worked in in topology as well as probability and statistics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- David van Dantzig was at secondary school when he wrote his first mathematics paper and, remarkably, he was only thirteen years old at the time.
- By now van Dantzig knew that mathematics was the subject which he really wanted to study but he was not in a position to do so, both because he had to earn money and also because he did not have the necessary school qualifications.
- Van Dantzig attended a seminar at the University of Amsterdam in 1925 which was led by L E J Brouwer but also had Pavel Sergeevich Aleksandrov, Karl Menger, Leopold Vietoris and Witold Hurewicz as participants.
- Van Dantzig became an assistant to Jan Schouten in 1927 at Delft Technical University.
- The method used in this paper to handle the projective connexion is the one developed by D van Dantzig, based on the introduction of homogeneous coordinates.
- There was still another topic that interested van Dantzig during the 1920s and 1930s, namely significs.
- Then van Dantzig goes on to argue that mathematics is not a type of knowledge but is a way of thinking which can be applied to any process of thought.
- In Amsterdam he was the cofounder, with J G van der Corput and J F Koksma, of the research and service institution, the Mathematisch Centrum, in February 1946.
- This chair had been specially created for van Dantzig.
- After the Second World War, van Dantzig undertook research mainly on probability and statistics.
- As might be expected given his demand for precision of language and work on foundations, van Dantzig found weaknesses in the work of others.
- For someone who trained in Amsterdam alongside Brouwer, it is not surprising that van Dantzig was interested in intuitionistic mathematics.
- We have still to look at the last project that van Dantzig worked on which was an application of mathematics to a very important problem, namely that of flooding.
- This committee looked for advice from several scientific institutions, one of these being van Dantzig's Mathematical Centre at Amsterdam.
- Van Dantzig had already addressed the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Amsterdam in September 1954 when he gave the plenary address Mathematical Problems Raised by the Flood Disaster 1953.
- The report produced by the Mathematical Centre certainly looked at all three categories of problems that he mentions in the above quote and it was still being checked over by van Dantzig at the time of his death.
- Papers by van Dantzig and H A Lauwerier published after his death resulting from this major investigation were The North Sea problem.
Born 23 September 1900, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Died 22 July 1959, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Netherlands, Topology
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive