10 June 2024

Thorvald Nicolai Thiele in Mathematical Library


The Department has received artwork by portrait painter Herman Vedel (1875-1948). The artwork shows Thorvald Nicolai Thiele; a versatile researcher who worked as an actuary, astronomer, mathematician, and statistician.

T.N. Thiele was painted by Herman Vedel.

The department revealed the artwork on 17 May 2024 at the inaugural lectures by Affiliate Professors Kristian Buchardt and Matthias Fahrenwaldt. It can be seen in the department's library.

Thorvald Nicolai Thiele was born in Copenhagen on 24 December 1838 and grew up in an intellectually stimulating environment; his father was the private librarian to King Christian VIII of Denmark. Thiele earned his master's degree in astronomy in 1860 and his doctorate in 1866. He became a professor of astronomy and the director of the Astronomical Observatory at the University of Copenhagen in 1875, serving until 1907. He was rector of the University of Copenhagen from 1900 to 1901. Thiele also founded the Danish insurance company Hafnia in 1872 and had managing positions there until he died in 1910. Thiele played a crucial role in founding the Danish Mathematical Society in 1873 and the Danish Society of Actuaries in 1901.

T.N. Thiele painted by Herman Vedel.
T.N. Thiele was painted by Herman Vedel.

The artwork was given as a present from Danica Pension to Per Klitgård upon his resignation as CEO in 2018 but continued to be exhibited in Danica Pension until recently. With help from Danica Pension, Per Klitgård has now donated the artwork to the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The department is grateful for the donation.