About the Author
Dirk J. Struik: A Birthday Celebration
Dirk. J. Struik was born in Rotterdam in 1894 and spent most of his teaching career at MIT; he retired in 1960. His Lectures on Classical Differential Geometry, reprinted by Dover in 1988, is still a highly regarded classic, as is his Concise History of Mathematics, one of the first Dover original books in mathematics and first published by Dover in 1948, which reached its current fourth revised edition in 1987.
Professor Struik died on October 21, 2000, twenty-one days after his 106th birthday. Professor. Thomas F. Banchoff of Brown University, longtime friend and colleague of Dr. Struik and an advisor to Dover for the past 30 years, here tells the story of his friend's memorable 100th birthday celebration:
"Dirk Struik was 97 at the time I asked him what he planned to do on his hundredth birthday. He said that his family always had a party, but I then thought of a bright idea, a public celebration lecture where he would sit in the front row and hear people from his past say laudatory things about his contributions. I blurted out, 'What about a lecture on your hundredth birthday?' Without hesitation, he agreed, and that was the start of a grand event.
"Well over two hundred fifty people attended his lecture, about a third who knew him from his mathematical writings, another third acquainted with his work in history and politics, and, according to one wag, the rest wanting to see a hundred-year-old man stand up for an hour. Joan Richards gave a sterling introduction covering the many aspects of his long career. The talk itself was full of personal reflections about the characteristics of these almost legendary figures in modern mathematics and the audience was most appreciative.
"Dirk Struik went on giving lectures, in the United States and in the Netherlands for the next four years. He was a good friend to many people in his long life, and his books on so many subjects will continue to provide inspiration and encouragement to generations of students and teachers." — Tom Banchoff