 
Summary: Under consideration for publication in Math. Struct. in Comp. Science
Zen and the art of formalization
ANDREA ASPERTI1
and JEREMY AVIGAD2
1
Department of Computer Science, University of Bologna, Italy.
2
Departments of Philosophy and Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.
Received 23 November 2010
"If you can't explain your mathematics
to a machine it is an illusion to think
you can explain it to a student."
N. G. de Bruijn
N. G. de Bruijn, now professor emeritus of the Eindhoven University of Technology,
was a pioneer in the field of interactive theorem proving. From 1967 to the end of the
1970's, his work on the Automath system introduced the architecture that is common to
most of today's proof assistants, and much of the basic technology. But de Bruijn was a
mathematician first and foremost, as evidenced by the many mathematical notions and
results that bear his name, among them de Bruijn sequences, de Bruin graphs, the de
