Johan Antony Barrau
- Category : Science-Mathematics-Statistics
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Endeavor 1
Nearly forgotten Dutch mathematics professor.
He was the son of Hendrik David Barrau (8 May 1840, Oisterwijk) and Annetta Geertruida Proos (18 January 1839, Werkendam), who married 2 May 1872 in Werkendam.
At age 14 he went to the Royal Netherlands Naval College at the campus Willemsoord in Den Helder to become a Sea lieutenant in 1891. While he served as a naval officer on the Mediterranean sea and the Dutch East Indies (1881-1898), he self studied to become a mathematics teacher. On 1 January 1899 he left the Dutch Navy to become a mathematics teacher at the HBS and higher civil evening school in Dordrecht. On 1 November 1900 he became a Mathematics teacher at the higher civil school (HBS) in Amsterdam.
On 28 Augustus 1902 he married Adriana Sophia Geerlofs (19 December 1879, Amsterdam - 1958, Tiel) in Amsterdam. They got three daughters and a son.
While teaching mathematics, he studied Physics and Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He dissertated cum laude on 9 October 1907 in Amsterdam with "Bijdragen tot de theorie der configuratie" (Contributions to the theory of configuration) under Diederik Johannes Korteweg. After his death his thesis was translated in French (1954). Other work were "Over drietalstelsels, in het bijzonder die van dertien elementen" (On triple systems, in particular those with 13 elements) in which he (re)proved that there are only two nonisomorphic Steiner systems and "Over de combinatorische opgave van Steiner".
From 1909 till 1913 he taught geometry at the Delft Technical University. On 29 August 1913 he was appointed by royal decree as professor in the analytic and higher descriptive geometry in Groningen. He succeeded Pieter Hendrik Schoute (21 January 1846, Wormerveer - 18 April 1913, Groningen). On 1 November 1913 he held his inaugural speech "Ruimtezin en ruimteleer" (Sense of space and space theory). Between 1918 and 1927 he wrote the Dutch standard textbook of Analytic Mathematics "Analytische meetkunde" in two parts: I. Het platte vlak. II. De ruimte.
He was the instigator of the honorary doctorate granted to the intuitive Irish lay mathematician and medium ("The Princess of Polytopia" ) Alicia Boole Stott (8 June 1860, Cork – 17 December, 1940, England), who made significant contributions to the study of four-dimensional geometry in collaboration with his predecessor professor Pieter Hendrik Schoute.
From 1925 till 1926 he was rector in Groningen. His inaugural speech held on 20 September 1926 had the title "De onbemindheid der wiskunde" (The unloved mathematics). On 30 May 1930 he retired in Groningen.
He also kept a professorship in Utrecht from 30 May 1928 till 20 September 1943. His inaugural speech "Figuren en hare coördinaten" (Spatial figures and their coordination) was held on 24 September 1928.
He died 8 January 1953 in Utrecht.