Tobias Dantzig

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Tobias Dantzig (/ˈdæntsɪɡ/; February 19, 1884 – August 9, 1956) was an American mathematician, the father of George Dantzig, and the author of Number: The Language of Science (A critical survey written for the cultured non-mathematician) (1930) and Aspects of Science (New York, Macmillan, 1937).


Born in Shavli[1][2] (then Imperial Russia, now Lithuania) into the family of Shmuel Dantzig (?-1940) and Guta Dimant (1863–1917), he grew up in Łódź and studied mathematics with Henri Poincaré in Paris.[3] His brother Jacob (1891-1942) was murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust; he also had a brother Naftali (who lived in Moscow) and sister Emma.

Tobias married a fellow Sorbonne University student, Anja Ourisson, and the couple emigrated to the United States in 1910. He worked for a time as a lumberjack, road worker, and house painter in Oregon, until returning to academia at the encouragement of Reed College mathematician Frank Griffin.[3] Dantzig received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Indiana University in 1917, while working as a professor there.[3][4] He later taught at Johns Hopkins, Columbia University, and the University of Maryland.

Dantzig died in Los Angeles in 1956. He was the father of George Dantzig, a key figure in the development of linear programming.

Partial list of publications[edit]

  • Number: The Language of Science (1930);[5] reprint of 4th edition. Penguin. 2007. ISBN 9780452288119.
  • Aspects of Science (1937)
  • Henri Poincaré, Critic of Crisis: Reflections on His Universe of Discourse (1954)
  • The Bequest of the Greeks (1955); Dantzig, Tobias (2006). Dover reprint. ISBN 9780486453477.


  1. ^ Profiles in Operations Research: Pioneers and Innovators
  2. ^ T. Dantzig, Historian and Interpreter of Mathematics
  3. ^ a b c Albers, Donald J.; Alexanderson, Gerald L.; Reid, Constance, eds. (1990), "George B. Dantzig", More Mathematical People, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, pp. 60–79.
  4. ^ Hosch WL Tobias Dantzig, Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition.
  5. ^ Miller, G. A. (1931). "Review of Number: The Language of Science by Tobias Dantzig" (PDF). Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 37: 9. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1931-05073-4.

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