David van Dantzig

David van Dantzig (September 23, 1900 – July 22, 1959) was a Dutch mathematician, well known for the construction in topology of the dyadic solenoid. He was a member of the Significs Group.

David van Dantzig
Born(1900-09-23)September 23, 1900
DiedJuly 22, 1959(1959-07-22) (aged 58)
Alma materUniversity of Amsterdam
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Amsterdam
Doctoral advisorBartel Leendert van der Waerden
Doctoral students


Born to a Jewish family in Amsterdam in 1900,[1] Van Dantzig started to study Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam in 1917, where Gerrit Mannoury lectured.[2] He received his PhD at the University of Groningen in 1931 with a thesis entitled "Studien over topologische algebra" under supervision of Bartel Leendert van der Waerden.[3]

He was appointed professor at the Delft University of Technology in 1938, and at the University of Amsterdam in 1946. Among his doctoral students were Jan Hemelrijk (1950), Johan Kemperman (1950), David Johannes Stoker (1955), and Constance van Eeden (1958).[3] In Amsterdam he was one of the founders of the Mathematisch Centrum. At the University of Amsterdam he was succeeded by Jan Hemelrijk.

Originally working on topics in differential geometry and topology, after World War II he focused on probability, emphasizing the applicability to statistical hypothesis testing.

In 1949 he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[4]


Books, a selection:

  • 1931. Studien over topologische algebra. Doctoral thesis University of Groningen.
  • 1932. Over de elementen van het wiskundig denken : voordracht. Rede Delft. Groningen : Noordhoff.
  • 1938. Vragen en schijnvragen over ruimte en tijd : een toepassing van den wiskundigen denkvorm. Inaugurale rede Technische Hogeschool te Delft
  • 1948. De functie der wetenschap : drie voordrachten, met discussie. With E.W. Beth and C.F.P. Stutterheim. 's-Gravenhage : Leopold

Articles, a selection:

  • D. van Dantzig, C. Scheffer "On hereditary time discrete stochastic processes, considered as stationary Markov chains, and the corresponding general form of Wald’s fundamental identity," Indag. Math. (16), No.4, (1954), p. 377–388


  1. O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "David van Dantzig", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  2. Siegenbeek van Heukelom, J., and Gerard Alberts. "Correspondentie David van Dantzig--Gerrit Mannoury historische notitie SEN, 1." (2000) mentioned:

    Correspondence David van Dantzig--Gerrit Mannoury October 23rd 1917, after the second lecture in a course on analytical geometry David van Dantzig, student of chemistry, wrote a long letter to the professor of mathematics Gerrit Mannoury. It proved the starting point of a life-long symbiosis of pupil and master in mathematics, metamathematics and significs...

  3. David van Dantzig at Mathematics Genealogy Project.
  4. "David van Dantzig (1900 - 1959)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
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