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Dantzig (George B.) Papers
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  • Information about Access
  • Ownership & Copyright
  • Cite As
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: George B. Dantzig papers
    creator: Dantzig, George Bernard, 1914-2005
    Identifier/Call Number: SC0826
    Physical Description: 91 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1999
    Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html.

    Information about Access

    The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Ownership & Copyright

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Cite As

    [identification of item], George B. Dantzig Papers (SC0826). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical / Historical

    George Bernard Dantzig (November 8, 1914 – May 13, 2005) was an American mathematical scientist who made important contributions to operations research, computer science, economics, and statistics.
    Dantzig is known for his development of the simplex algorithm, an algorithm for solving linear programming problems, and his work with linear programming. In statistics, Dantzig solved two open problems in statistical theory, which he had mistaken for homework after arriving late to a lecture of Jerzy Neyman.
    Dantzig was the Professor Emeritus of Transportation Sciences and Professor of Operations Research and of Computer Science at Stanford.
    Born in Portland, Oregon, George Bernard Dantzig was named after George Bernard Shaw, the Irish writer. His father, Tobias Dantzig, was born in Shavli Lithuania, a Jew living in the Pale of Russia. He received his Ph.D. at Indiana University, taught at various universities including Johns Hopkins before he moving to the University of Md., where he transformed the mathematics department from that of an agriculture school to a research math department. He was chairman of the department for some time. His field of interest was geometry. He was a descendent of Rabbi Abraham Danzig of Vilna, known as the Chaye Odom. His mother, Anja Ourisson (nee Uryson) Dantzig was born in Lodz, Poland, attended the Sorbonne, where she also studied mathematics. In the US, she earned bachelors and masters degrees in French literature, but translated Slavic languages at the Library of Congress, where she was assistant head of the division. She was related to the Russian mathematician Pavel Uryson. Dantzig's parents met during their study at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where Tobias studied mathematics under Henri Poincaré, after whom Dantzig's brother was named. The Dantzigs immigrated to the United States, where they settled in Portland, Oregon.
    Early in the 1920s the Dantzig family moved from Baltimore to Washington. His mother became assistant chief Slavic translator at the Library of Congress, and his father became chairman of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, College Park, George attended Powell Junior High School and Central High School; one of his friends there was Abraham Seidenberg, who was a professor of Mathematics at UC Berkeley. By the time he reached high school he was already fascinated by geometry, and this interest was further nurtured by his father, challenging him with complicated problems, particularly in projective geometry.
    George Dantzig earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Maryland in 1936, and his master's degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1938. After a two-year period at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, he enrolled in the doctoral program in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied statistics under Jerzy Neyman.
    With the outbreak of World War II, George took a leave of absence from the doctoral program at Berkeley to join the U.S. Air Force Office of Statistical Control. In 1946, he returned to Berkeley to complete the requirements of his program and received his Ph.D. that year. Although he had a faculty offer from Berkeley, he returned to the Air Force as mathematical advisor to the comptroller.
    In 1952 Dantzig joined the mathematics division of the RAND Corporation. By 1960 he became a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at UC Berkeley, where he founded and directed the Operations Research Center. In 1966 he joined the Stanford faculty as Professor of Operations Research and of Computer Science. A year later, the Program in Operations Research became a full-fledged department. In 1973 he founded the Systems Optimization Laboratory (SOL) there. On a sabbatical leave that year, he headed the Methodology Group at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. Later he became the C. A. Criley Professor of Transportation Sciences at Stanford, and kept going, well beyond his mandatory retirement in 1985.
    He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. George was the recipient of many honors, including the first John von Neumann Theory Prize in 1974, the National Medal of Science in 1975, an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1976. The Mathematical Programming Society honored Dantzig by creating the George B. Dantzig Prize, bestowed every three years since 1982 on one or two people who have made a significant impact in the field of mathematical programming.
    Dantzig died on May 13, 2005, in his home in Stanford, California, of complications from diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He was 90 years old.

    Related Materials

    Related George B. Dantzig papers donated to the University of Maryland (https://www.lib.umd.edu/) by Jessica Klass.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Higher).
    Mathematicians -- United States.
    Computer science -- Study and teaching
    Computer science -- Research
    Systems programming (Computer science)
    Dantzig, George Bernard, 1914-2005