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Eduard Dijksterhuis

Dutch mathematician

Biographical Information

Name: Eduard Dijksterhuis
Full name: Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis
Born on 28 October 1892 in , North Brabant, Netherlands, Europe
Deceased on 18 May 1965 in , Utrecht, Netherlands, Europe

Short biography of Eduard Dijksterhuis

Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis was the son of the headmaster of the Willem II school in Tilburg, Berend Dijksterhuis, and his wife, Gezina Eerkes. He left his father’s school in 1910 and went on to study mathematics at the University of Groningen, where he gained his doctorate in 1918 with a dissertation entitled Bijdragen tot de kennis der meetkunde van het platte schroevenvlak. He was employed as a teacher of mathematics and physics at the Willem II school in Tilburg from 1919 to 1953. He became interested in the early history of mathematics and mechanics as early as the 1920s. Initially influenced by Pierre Duhem’s work on the history of science, Dijksterhuis made a major contribution to giving a professional status to the history of science in general and the history of the exact sciences in particular. For example, he published a history of mechanics from Aristotle to Newton in 1924, a commentary on Euclid’s Elemente in 1929–30, a study on Archimedes in 1938 and one on Stevin in 1943. Dijksterhuis set standards in the historical study of the sciences in 1950 with his work De mechanisering van het wereldbeeld, which later appeared in German (1956) and English (The Mechanization of the World Picture, 1961); this helped the history of science gain a high social standing as an independent discipline on both national and international levels. He was awarded the P. C. Hooft Prize – one of the foremost state prices for literature in the Netherlands – for this work by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1952. Although his time as a private lecturer at the universities of Aamsterdam and Leiden in the 1930s represents less successful years, from 1953 onwards, Dijksterhuis lectured in the history of mathematics and natural sciences at the univer- sities of Utrecht and Leiden with more success. He spent his final years as a full professor for these scientific disciplines at the University of Utrecht (1960–63). In the Netherlands, Klaas van Berkel in particular has continued Dijksterhuis’ scientific work, and his biography of Dijksterhuis is a worthy tribute to the old Dutch master of the history of science [Berkel, 1996].

Main contributions to structural analysis:

Die Mechanisierung des Weltbildes [1956]; The Mechanization of the World Picture [1961]; Simon Stevin: Science in the Netherlands around 1600 [1970]; Archimedes [1987] 

Source: Kurrer, Karl-Eugen The History of the Theory of Structures, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH, Berlin (Deutschland), ISBN 3-433-01838-3, 2008; p. 725


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