Mathematician:Mathematicians/Sorted By Nation/Denmark

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For more comprehensive information on the lives and works of mathematicians through the ages, see the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, created by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson.

The army of those who have made at least one definite contribution to mathematics as we know it soon becomes a mob as we look back over history; 6,000 or 8,000 names press forward for some word from us to preserve them from oblivion, and once the bolder leaders have been recognised it becomes largely a matter of arbitrary, illogical legislation to judge who of the clamouring multitude shall be permitted to survive and who be condemned to be forgotten.[1]


Tycho Brahe (1546 – 1601)

Danish nobleman famous for his contributions to the science of astronomy.

Refuted the Aristotelian view that the heavens were unchanging, by interpreting observations of supernovae and comets.

Pointed out inaccuracies in the astronomical model proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, preferring to adhere to the geocentric model of Ptolemy.
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Georg Mohr (1640 – 1697)

Born Jørgen Mohr, latinised as Georg(ius) Mohr.

Danish mathematician and geometer now famous for proving in 1672 that any geometrical construction that can be made with compasses and straightedge can also be achieved by using only compasses. This result was overlooked at the time. Lorenzo Mascheroni made the same discovery in 1797. However, it was only in 1928 that Mohr's priority came to light.

Other books of his are rumoured but none have come to direct light.
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Julius Petersen (1839 – 1910)

Danish mathematician who worked on many areas of mathematics and wrote several textbooks.

Perhaps best known for the Petersen graph.
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Jørgen Pedersen Gram (1850 – 1916)

Danish actuary and mathematician working mostly in the field of statistics.
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Johan Ludvig Heiberg (1854 – 1928)

Danish historian best known for discovering previously unknown texts of Archimedes.

Also published an edition of Euclid's The Elements.
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Johan Ludwig William Valdemar Jensen (1859 – 1925)

Danish mathematician and engineer best known for Jensen's Inequality and Jensen's Formula.
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Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885 – 1962)

Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory.
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Peter Naur (b. 1928 )

Danish astronomer, computer scientist and empirical philosopher who was significantly involved in the development of ALGOL.

The metalanguage Backus-Naur Form was named after John Warner Backus (who invented it) and him (who refined it), but would rather it were called Backus Normal Form.
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Christian Berg (b. 1944 )

Danish mathematician, currently a professor at the University of Copenhagen.
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  1. Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, 1937, Victor Gollancz, London.