Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn

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Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn
Nicolaas de Bruijn.jpg
Born (1918-07-09)9 July 1918
The Hague
Died 17 February 2012(2012-02-17) (aged 93)
Nationality Dutch
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Eindhoven University of Technology
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Doctoral advisor Jurjen Ferdinand Koksma
Doctoral students Matheus Hautus
Antonius Levelt
Robert Nederpelt Lazarom
Johannes Runnenburg
Stan Ackermans
Known for De Bruijn sequence
De Bruijn index

Nicolaas Govert (Dick) de Bruijn (Dutch pronunciation: [nikoːˈlaːs ˈxoːvərt də ˈbrœy̯n];[1] 9 July 1918 – 17 February 2012) was a Dutch mathematician and Emeritus Professor of mathematics at the Eindhoven University of Technology, noted for his many contributions in the fields of analysis, number theory, combinatorics and logic.[2]


Born in The Hague, De Bruijn received his MA in Mathematics at the Leiden University in 1941. He received his PhD in 1943 from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with a thesis entitled "Over modulaire vormen van meer veranderlijken" advised by Jurjen Ferdinand Koksma.[3]

De Bruijn started his academic career as at the University of Amsterdam, where he was Professor of Mathematics from 1952 to 1960. In 1960 he moved to the Technical University Eindhoven where he was Professor of Mathematics until his retirement in 1984.[2] Among his graduate students were Johannes Runnenburg (1960), Antonius Levelt (1961), S. Ackermans (1964), Jozef Beenakker (1966), W. van der Meiden (1967), Matheus Hautus (1970), Robert Nederpelt Lazarom (1973), Lambert van Benthem Jutting (1977), A. Janssen (1979), Diederik van Daalen (1980), and Harmannus Balsters (1986).[3]

In 1957 he was appointed member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[4] He was Knighted with the Order of the Netherlands Lion.


De Bruijn covered many areas of mathematics. He is especially noted for:

He wrote one of the standard books in advanced asymptotic analysis (De Bruijn, 1958).

In the late sixties, he designed the Automath language for representing mathematical proofs, so that they could be verified automatically (see automated theorem checking). Shortly before his death, he had been working on models for the human brain.


Books, a selection:

  • 1943. Over modulaire vormen van meer veranderlijken
  • 1958. Asymptotic Methods in Analysis, North-Holland, Amsterdam.

Articles, a selection:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]