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
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Known for De Bruijn sequence
De Bruijn index
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Eindhoven University of Technology
Doctoral advisor Jurjen Ferdinand Koksma
Doctoral students Johannes Runnenburg
Stan Ackermans

Nicolaas Govert (Dick) de Bruijn (Dutch: [nikoːˈlaːs ˈxoːvərt də ˈbrœy̯n];[1] 9 July 1918 – 17 February 2012) was a Dutch mathematician, 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]


  1. ^ In isolation, Govert is pronounced [ˈɣoːvərt].
  2. ^ a b Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn's obituary 2012
  3. ^ a b Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ "Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn (1918 - 2012)" (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  5. ^ de Bruijn, N.G. (1981). "Algebraic theory of Penrose's non-periodic tilings of the plane. I". Indagationes Mathematicae (Proceedings). 84: 39–52. doi:10.1016/1385-7258(81)90016-0. 
  6. ^ de Bruijn, N.G. (1981). "Algebraic theory of Penrose's non-periodic tilings of the plane. II". Indagationes Mathematicae (Proceedings). 84: 53–66. doi:10.1016/1385-7258(81)90017-2. 

External links[edit]