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Hermann Minkowski and modern relativity theory [Book Review]

Sauer, Tilman (2013) Hermann Minkowski and modern relativity theory [Book Review]. Metascience, 22 (3). pp. 591-594. ISSN 0815-0796. doi:10.1007/s11016-013-9760-z.

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Contrary to popular belief, the emergence of the special theory of relativity is not the result of a single stroke of genius, all set and done with the 1905 paper on the “electrodynamics of moving bodies” by an unknown Bern patent clerk. The importance of Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking contribution, against the background of no less important earlier or parallel work by Hendrik A. Lorentz, Henri Poincaré, and others, is undisputed. But it took further developments to mold the theory into the elegant shape we recognize today. One such development concerned the mathematical formulation, and with mathematical sophistication came the realization of further conceptual implications as well. Hermann Minkowski’s contribution proved to be of paramount importance in both respects. His adaptation of Einstein’s theory from the perspective of someone who was at ease with the most advanced mathematical theories and concepts of the time further helped to carve out the conceptual core and lasting innovation of the special theory of relativity. Had he not died, unexpectedly and tragically, in early January 1909 at the age of 44 years of a ruptured appendix, who knows what else he might have contributed to the further development of physical theory.

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Additional Information:© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. First Online: 05 February 2013. Book review of: Vesselin Petkov (ed.): Minkowski spacetime: A hundred years later. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010. xlii+326pp.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170712-072950005
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Official Citation:Sauer, T. Metascience (2013) 22: 591. doi:10.1007/s11016-013-9760-z
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78978
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Jul 2017 17:29
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:44

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