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Diederik Johannes Korteweg

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31 March 1848

'sHertogenbosch, Netherlands

10 May 1941

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Diederik Korteweg studied at the Polytechnical School at Delft. He originally intended to become an engineer but he turned to mathematics. He became a secondary school teacher, teaching in schools at Tilberg and Breda.

He then entered the University of Amsterdam, receiving a doctorate in 1878. He remained at Amsterdam becoming professor there in 1881. He held this post until he retired in 1918.

Korteweg's main work was in applied mathematics. His doctoral dissertation was on the velocity of wave propogation in elastic tubes. His subsequent work included work on electricity, statistical mechanics , thermodynamics and further work on wave propagation.

He established a criterion for the stability of orbits of particles moving under a central force. He also studied a stationary wave in a rectangular canal. He is remembered in particular for the Korteweg-de Vries equation on solitary waves. In 1894 de Vries wrote a dissertation Bijdrage tot de kennis der lange golven supervised by Korteweg. The results of this thesis were written up for publication in a joint paper published in 1905.

His books studying Huygens contributed greatly to the history of mathematics. He was also the editor of Huygens complete works.

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland