Tatyana Pavlovna Ehrenfest

van Aardenne-Ehrenfest in 1977
Photo courtesy of MFO

Tatyana Pavlovna Ehrenfest, later van Aardenne-Ehrenfest, (Vienna, October 28, 1905 – Dordrecht, November 29, 1984) was a Dutch mathematician. She was the daughter of Paul Ehrenfest (1880–1933) and Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva (1876–1964).

Tatyana Ehrenfest was born in Vienna, and spent her childhood in St Petersburg. In 1912 the Ehrenfests moved to Leiden where her father succeeded H.A. Lorentz as professor at the University of Leiden. Until 1917 she was home schooled, after that she attended the Gymnasium in Leiden and passed the final exams in 1922. She studied mathematics and physics at the University of Leiden. In 1928 she went to Göttingen where she took courses from Harald Bohr and Max Born. On December 8, 1931 she obtained her Ph.D. in Leiden. After that, she was never employed and, in particular, never held any academic position.

Under her married name, Tanja van Aardenne-Ehrenfest, she is known for her contributions to De Bruijn sequences, the discrepancy theorem and the BEST theorem.


  1. ^ Oppervlakken met scharen van gesloten geodetische lijnen, Thesis, Leiden, 1931.
  2. ^ N.G. de Bruijn, In memoriam T. van Aardenne-Ehrenfest, 1905–1984, Nieuw Archief voor Wiskunde (4), Vol.3, (1985) 235–236.
  3. ^ Eric W. Weisstein. Discrepancy Theorem. From MathWorld – A Wolfram Web Resource.

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