- Art Gallery -


Diederik Johannes Korteweg (31 March 1848 – 10 May 1941[1]) was a Dutch mathematician. He is now remembered as the joint discoverer of the Korteweg–de Vries equation.[2]

Early life and education

Diederik Korteweg's father was a judge in 's-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch) in southern Netherlands. Korteweg received his schooling there, studying at a special academy which prepared students for a military career. However, he decided against a military career and, making the first of his changes of direction, he began his studies at the Polytechnical School of Delft. Korteweg originally intended to become an engineer but, although he maintained an interest in mechanics and other applications of mathematics throughout his life, his love of mathematics made him change direction for the second time when he was not enjoying the technical courses at Delft. He decided to terminate his course and pull out of his studies so that he could concentrate on mathematics. He then enrolled in mathematics and mechanics courses qualifying him to become a high school teacher.

In 1878 Korteweg received a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam.[3] His disssertation was titled On the Propagation of Waves in Elastic Tubes. He was the first Ph.D. recipient from that University after it received authority to grant the doctorate.[4]

In 1881 Korteweg joined the University of Amsterdam as Professor of Mathematics, Mechanics and Astronomy. While there he published a notable paper in Philosophical Magazine titled "On the Change of Form of Long Waves . . "

Some of his famous students were Gustav de Vries, Gerrit Mannoury and Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer.

Honors and societies

Korteweg was a member of the Royal Academy for 60 years. He was a member of the Dutch Mathematical Society for 75 years. He was editor of Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde from 1897 to his death in 1941.[5]

An experiment conducted aboard the International Space Station in 2003 (Miscible Fluids in Microgravity) was mounted to prove one of Korteweg's theories.[6]

See also

* Cnoidal wave
* Korteweg–de Vries equation


1. ^ http://staff.science.uva.nl/~janwieg/korteweg
2. ^ http://gap-system.org/~history/Mathematicians/Korteweg.html
3. ^ http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/id.php?id=7731 Korteweg defended his dissertation on 12 July 1878. website accessed 7 Sept. 2009
4. ^ staff.science
5. ^ staff.science
6. ^ http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/25sep_ingenuity.htm NASA website, accessed 7 Sept. 2009

Further reading

* Willink, Bastiaan (October 2007), "The collaboration between Korteweg and de Vries — An enquiry into personalities", History of Physics, arXiv:0710.5227v1 .
* Korteweg, D. J. & de Vries, G. (1895), "On the Change of Form of Long Waves advancing in a Rectangular Canal and on a New Type of Long Stationary Waves", Philosophical Magazine, 5th series 39: 422–443 .

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Diederik Korteweg", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Korteweg.html .
* Diederik Korteweg at the Mathematics Genealogy Project


Mathematics Encyclopedia

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License