Tatyana Afanasyeva

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Tatyana Afanasyeva

Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva (Russian: Татья́на Алексе́евна Афана́сьева) (Kiev, 19 November 1876 – Leiden, 14 April 1964) (also known as Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanaseva) was a Russian/Dutch mathematician. On 21 December 1904 she was married to Paul Ehrenfest (1880–1933) an Austrian physicist. They had two daughters and two sons; one daughter, Tatyana Pavlovna Ehrenfest, also became a mathematician.

Afanasyeva was born in Kiev, Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. After her father died she was brought up by an uncle in St Petersburg, Russia, where she attended a women's pedagogical school and a Women's College. In 1902 she transferred to Göttingen, where she met Ehrenfest. The couple got married in 1904, and in 1907 they returned to St Petersburg. In 1912 they moved to Leiden, where Paul Ehrenfest was appointed to succeed H.A. Lorentz as professor at the University of Leiden.[1]

Tatyana collaborated closely with her husband, most famously on their classic review of the statistical mechanics of Boltzmann.[2] She published many papers on various topics such as randomness[3] and entropy,[4] and teaching geometry to children.[5][6]


  1. ^ van Delft, Dirk (April 2006), "Albert Einstein in Leiden" (PDF), Physics Today, vol. 59 no. 4, pp. 57–62, doi:10.1063/1.2207039 . See p. 57: "In 1912 Ehrenfest succeeded Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853–1928) as professor of theoretical physics at Leiden. ... In Leiden, the Ehrenfests moved into a Russian-style villa designed by Ehrenfest’s Russian wife Tatiana Afanashewa, a mathematician."
  2. ^ P. Ehrenfest & T. Ehrenfest (1911) Begriffliche Grundlagen der statistischen Auffassung in der Mechanik, in: Enzyklopädie der mathematischen Wissenschaften mit Einschluß ihrer Anwendungen. Band IV, 2. Teil ( F. Klein and C. Müller (eds.). Leipzig: Teubner, pp. 3–90. Translated as The conceptual Foundations of the Statistical Approach in Mechanics. New York: Cornell University Press, 1959. ISBN 0-486-49504-3
  3. ^ T. Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa, Die Grundlagen der Thermodynamik (Leiden 1956)
  4. ^ T. Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa, On the Use of the Notion "Probability" in Physics Am. J. Phys. 26: 388 (1958)
  5. ^ Tatjana Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa, "Exercises in Experimental Geometry. 1931" (PDF).  (214 KiB).
  6. ^ Ed de Moor Van Vormleer naar Realistische Meetkunde, Thesis, Utrecht (1999).


  • Klein, Martin J. (1972). The making of a theoretical physicist. (1. ed., 2. print. ed.). Amsterdam: North-Holland Publ. ISBN 978-0720401639. 
  • Pyenson, Lewis (1995). "Ehrenfest, Tatyana Afanaseva". In McMurray, Emily J.; Kosek, Jane Kelly; Valade III, Roger M. Notable twentieth-century scientists. Detroit, MI: Gale Research. ISBN 9780810391819. 

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