1335 Demoulina

This minor planet is "named in honor of Prof. Demoulin of the University of Ghent, Belgium" [1]. And that's all the relevant sources - not even a first name. The Wikipedia article for this minor planet speculates that he is an astronomer.

But let's investigate. This minor planet was discovered and named in 1934 by Karl Reinmuth. Up until 1930, the official academic language of the University of Ghent in Belgium was French, and after 1930 it was Dutch. As far as I can tell, only four men with the last name Demoulin authored papers or appeared in citations between the years 1900 and 1934, each of whom writes in French:

  • F. Demoulin, who wrote about Saharan geography;
  • A. Demoulin, who wrote about mathematics;
  • Robert Demoulin, who wrote about English-Belgium relations;
  • H. Demoulin, who wrote about archaeology.

Of this bunch, the mathematician seems like the most likely candidate for an astronomer to know. A little more digging reveals the name Alphonse Demoulin, and indeed it does appear that an Alphonse Demoulin (1869 - 1947) taught mathematics and geometry at the university of Ghent from 1898 to 1936 [2], who studied differential geometry and projective geometry, and won the 1945 Poncelet Prize. Success!

I can't think of any way to symbolize his achievements in his field, so instead for this symbol I draw on elements from the seal of the University of Ghent, namely Minerva and a lion. The symbol is a Latin capital letter D with a right triangle on the left side, representing geometry and resembling the left half of Pallas, and with a Leo tail coming off to the right of the D.

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[1] https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_1336

[2] https://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/MEM01/000/000/208/MEM01-000000208_BN.pdf


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