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Hermann Minkowski

1864 - 1909

Hermann Minkowski

Hermann Minkowski, 1869 - 1909, was a Lithuanian-born German mathematician, who was an early developer and contributor to Einstein's Special Relativity Theory.

  • Nationality
  • German

  • Subject
  • Astrophysics

  • Fields
  • Mathematics

  • Distinctions
  • Asteroid (12493) and a Moon crater are named in his honour.

  • Posts
  • Professorships at universities of Königsberg, Göttingen, Bonn, Zurich Polytechnic (ETH). Albert Einstein was one of his students at Zurich.

    Chair at Göttingen University, 1902 - 1909.

  • Publications
  • Diophantische Approximationen, 1907, a work on number theory.

    Raum und Zeit (Space and Time), 1909, a presentation to the DMV (Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung, German Mathematics Society), Leipzig, concerning Einstein's Special Relativity Theory.

    Geometrie der Zahlen, 1896, (The Geometry of Numbers).

    Letters to David Hilbert

  • Theories
  • Minkowski Theorem: geometry of numbers, a branch of number theory.

    Minkowski Diagram

    Number theory

    Mathematical physics: questions related to the newly discovered electrons and electrodynamics.

    Minkowski extended Einstein's Relativity Theory to 4-dimensional non-Euclidean space (Minkowski spacetime).

  • Equations
  • Minkowski Space

    Minkowski Equation

    M-Matrices

At the Königsberg University, Minkowski met and befriended David Hilbert, with whom he worked closely at Göttingen.

His fields of interest were many. He developed the geometry of numbers, a field of number theory, and applied mathematics to physics questions, such as a study of the newly discovered electron, and electrodynamics. In his last years, he developed Special Relativity to 4-dimensional, non-Euclidean space, in which Minkowski spacetime merges space and time.

His nephew was the astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski (1895 - 1976), who, being Jewish, fled Germany in the 1930s, and emigrated to the USA, where he worked at the Wilson Observatory from 1935.






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