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Person: Kloosterman (2), Hendrik Douwe
Alberto Dou was a Spanish Jesuit and mathematician who worked in differential geometry, elasticity, and partial differential equations. He fought on the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- While Dou was studying civil engineering in Madrid the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936.
- To understand Dou's reaction to this conflict we need to give a few brief comments about this war.
- Where did Alberto Dou stand in all this?
- However, Dou was from Catalonia which was the centre of the Republican cause.
- At the outbreak of the Civil War, Dou joined the Nationalist army and was sent to the front, first as a Private and later promoted to Alférez Provisional Ⓣ(Temporary second lieutentant).
- It appears that following this, Dou was involved in a dispute with some fellow soldiers in his unit on whether Catalan is or is not a true language.
- Dou took that step forward and as a consequence he spent the rest of the war in a disciplinary battalion.
- After the Civil War ended in 1939, Dou returned to Madrid and continued his studies in civil engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
- At the University of Barcelona, Dou attended a course delivered by Wilhelm Blaschke who was visiting the university.
- As a result of this, immediately following the award of his bachelor's degree in mathematics, Dou went to Germany and spent a year at the University of Hamburg undertaking research supervised by Blaschke.
- He established contacts with many of the leading mathematicians such as Fritz John, Alberto Calderón and Jacques-Louis Lions.
- In 1959-60 he made a research visit to the Courant Institute of the University of New York and, in the same year, took the opportunity to visit the University of Chicago where he established a close relation with Antoni Zygmund and Alberto Calderón.
- Dou's main areas of research were Differential Geometry, the Theory of Elasticity, and the Variational Theory of Partial Differential Equations.
- We should look briefly at some of the books which Dou wrote.
- Ecuaciones en derivadas parciales Ⓣ(Partial differential equations) was published in 1968 and, two years later, in 1970 Dou published Fundamentos de la matemática Ⓣ(Foundations of mathematics).
- Let us now describe briefly how Dou's career developed.
- This university, the oldest private university in Spain, was run by the Society of Jesus and so was a natural for Dou to accept this position.
- However, Dou only remained at the University of Deusto for two years before, in 1977, he returned to Madrid when he accepted the position as rector of the Catholic Institute of Arts and Industries and of the Catholic Institute of Business Administration.
- In 1978, one year after Dou took up this position, these institutes merged with the Comillas Pontifical University which was also run by the Society of Jesus.
- In addition to his research in Differential Geometry, Differential Equations, and the Theory of Elasticity, Dou wrote articles on the foundations of mathematics.
- Dou received many awards and honours for his outstanding contributions.
- On 12 June 1963, Dou delivered his inauguration address as a member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences occupying the place left vacant on the death of Rey Pastor.
Born 21 December 1915, Olot, Spain. Died 18 April 2009, Sant Cugat del Vallés, Barcelona, Spain.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive