David Bierens de Haan
- Category : Humanities+Social-Sciences-Historian
- Type : GP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Incarnation 1
Dutch mathematician and historian of science.
He was the son of the rich Baptist merchant Abraham Pieterszoon de Haan (12 December 1795, Amsterdam - 25 October 1880, De Bilt) and Catharina Jacoba Bierens (9 January 1797, Amsterdam - 12 September 1835, Amsterdam), who married on 8 Augustus 1821 in Amsterdam. His grandfather Pieter Pieterszoon de Haan ( 18 July 1757, Amsterdam - 5 January 1833, Leiden), was a powerful merchant, who was also chief of trade issues in the Navy of the Netherlands. As war and trade were intermixed in Dutch colonial times.
In 1841 Bierens de Haan went to the Athenaeum Illustre in Amsterdam to study law, according to the wish of his father. The same year he became a member of the Mathematics Society and on 2 January 1841 he subscribed at the University of Leiden to study the "Philosophiae naturalis. In 1842 he moved to Leiden to achieve his goal. As he did not want to be a merchant, like his father and grandfather. He wanted to study the perennial philosophy of natural science. He finished his study of Physics and Mathematics on 18 December 1843 cum laude. On 15 May 1847 2 PM he dissertated summa cum laude on "De Lemniscata Bernouillana" under Gideon Janus Verdam (2 December 1802, Mijdrecht - 29 Octobrer 1866, Leiden). Just like Bierens de Haan, the mathematician Jacob Bernouilly (1654-1705), studied against the wish of his father mathematics and the natural sciences. Bernouilly's motto "Invito pat-re sidera verso" means "I study stars against the will of my father".
From 28 Augustus 1848 till 1853 he was a teacher of physics and mathematics at the Gymnasium in Deventer. He married there in 1852. As he was wealthy by marriage and heritage, he stopped teaching in 1853 and dedicated himself to the publishing large table of integrals. In 1856 he became a member of the Dutch academy of science, the KNAW. He also was involved in local politics (1858) and inspected schools.
In 1863 Bierens de Haan was appointed as a special professor in Leiden to assist Gideon Janus Verdam, who had an ill heath. Since 1867 he became professor of mathematics at Leiden University. Though his students admired his profound knowledge of the sources, they were not pleased with the presentation of his lectures. Seemingly a private University professor interested in integrals, Bierens de Haan was a very socially aware person and became a noted member of not only of international scientific academies, but he also held many public functions in his local school system, the Baptist church and was a regent of the "hofje" for the poor "De Houcksteen" (the cornerstone).
Since 1888 he co-edited the works of Christiaan Huygens and in 1892 edited the Algebra of Willem Smaasen (5 January 1820, Den Haag - 14 February 1850, Kampen). He held a large library on mathematics, the history of science and pedagogy, which he left to the University of Leiden. The collections called Bibliotheca Paedagogica, the Bibliotheca Biographica, and the Bibliotheca Mathematica now reside at the Leiden University Library.
His doctoral students include prof. Pieter Hendrik Schoute (21 January 1846, Wormerveer – April 18, 1923, Groningen), a mathematician known for his work on regular polytopes and Euclidean geometry.
On 31 March 1852 he married in Deventer Johanna Catharina Justine IJssel de Schepper (13 April 1827, Deventer - 25 January 1906, Haarlem). They got nine children, but at least four daughters died early: Elize Charlotte Adolphine Jeanette (1865), Hester Anthonia (1865), Susanna Maria Petronella (1865) and Petronella Hermance Johanna (1872). Bierens de Haan died 12 Augustus 1895 in Santpoort of heart failure. It was attributed myocarditis associated with typhoid fever he contracted early 1872.
His son Johan Catharinus Justus Bierens de Haan (17 November 1867-18 December 1951, Amsterdam) was a PhD. surgeon and art collector. He never married, but travelled a lot to collect prints. After his death, he left his huge collection of 26,000 prints and his library to Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam.