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Nikolaas Tinbergen

Nikolaas Tinbergen, Dutch zoologist. Research on social behavior of animals and responses to complex stimuli, a co-founder of ethology. Recipient Joint Nobel prize for physiology or medicine, 1973, Swammerdan medal, 1973, other awards.


  • Tinbergen, Nikolaas was born on April 15, 1907 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Son of Dirk Cornelis and Jeannette (Van Eek) Tinbergen.

  • Education

    • Doctor of Philosophy, Leiden University, Netherlands, 1932.


    • Faculty Leiden University, 1933-1949, professor experimental zoology, 1947-1949. Ethology lecturer Oxford (England) University, from 1949, reader animal behavior, 1962-1966, professor in animal behavior, 1966-1974, emeritus, 1974-1988.

    Major achievements

    • Research on social behavior of animals and responses to complex stimuli, a co-founder of ethology.


    • Curious Naturalists
    • Enthusiastic and informal accounts of the exciting discoveries and fascinating observations made by naturalists in the study of the behavior of animals in their natural surroundings.
    • The Study of Instinct
    • Nikolaas Tinbergen won a Nobel Prize in 1973 for his pioneering studies in animal behavior.


    Fellow Royal Society, 1962. Member National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, American Academy Arts and Sciences (foreign), Akademie van Wetenschappen, American Museum Natural History, Max Planck Gesellschaft, others.


    • Married Elisabeth Amelie Rutten, April 14, 1932. Children: Jacob, Catharina Tinbergen Loman, Dirk, Jannetje, Gerardina Tinbergen Carleston.
    • father: Dirk Cornelis Tinbergen
    • mother: Jeannette (Van Eek) Tinbergen
    • spouse: Elisabeth Amelie Rutten
    • children: Jacob Tinbergen
    • Catharina Tinbergen Loman Tinbergen
    • Dirk Tinbergen
    • Jannetje Tinbergen
    • Gerardina Tinbergen Carleston Tinbergen
    Nikolaas Tinbergen
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    Born April 15, 1907
    Died December 21, 1988
    (aged 81)
    • 1932
      Leiden University
    • 1962 - 1966
      ethology lecturer, Oxford (England) University
    • 1974 - 1988
      ethology lecturer, Oxford (England) University