Person: Nijenhuis, Albert
Albert Nijenhuis was a Dutch-born American mathematician who worked in differential geometry and the theory of deformations. He later worked in combinatorics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Nijenhuis was able to continue his studies at the Gymnasium where, at the age of fourteen, he became fascinated by mathematics.
- The Germans evacuated Arnhem, the Gymnasium there was closed down and Nijenhuis' schooling came to an end.
- When the Arnhem Gymnasium closed, Nijenhuis was seventeen years old and had only one year of schooling left.
- Nijenhuis was awarded his Candidat degree, equivalent to a Bachelor's degree, in 1947.
- In 1952 Nijenhuis was awarded a Ph.D. for his 238-page thesis Theory of the geometric object which was published by the University of Amsterdam in that year.
- In this work Nijenhuis solved an open question in the theory of deformations, the tool he introduced to solve it now being known as the 'Nijenhuis Tensor'.
- After the award of his Ph.D., Nijenhuis travelled to the United States where he spent a year at Princeton University on a Fulbright Fellowship.
- After three years at Princeton, Nijenhuis was appointed as an Instructor in Mathematics at the University of Chicago in 1955.
- After spending the academic year 1955-56 in Chicago, Nijenhuis was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Washington and later was promoted to professor there.
- Albert was on a Guggenheim Fellowship then, and was spending the second year of the fellowship in Seattle.
- in 1963, Albert received an offer from the University of Pennsylvania which he accepted.
- He conducted several raids (some friends began to call him the Viking), and we suffered by losing both Albert Nijenhuis and Michael Fell, who were recruited by him.
- Fortunately, although Albert accepted the Penn appointment as of Fall 1963, he stayed on in Seattle, on leave from Penn, until 1964, which enabled me to continue our seminar for another year.
- Although those visits suffered a lull after some time, their love for Seattle never diminished, and they promptly moved back here after Albert retired in 1987.
- Albert became an Affiliate Professor in our department and participated in several ways in its life.
- Nijenhuis was honoured with being elected a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966 and as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2012.
Born 21 November 1926, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Died 13 February 2015, Seattle, Washington, USA.
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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