Minkowski , Hermann
(1864–1909) Russian–German mathematician
Minkowski was born at Alexotas in Russia to parents of German origin. In 1872 the family returned to Germany, settling in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad). Minkowski studied alongside David Hilbert at the University of Königsberg, under Adolf Hurwitz, and gained his PhD in 1885. He taught at Bonn (1885–94) and Königsberg (1894–96) and then worked with Hurwitz at the Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (1896–1902). At Hilbert's instigation a new chair of mathematics was created for Minkowski at the University of Göttingen and he worked there (1902–09) until his death.
In 1883, when still 18, Minkowski was awarded the Grand Prix des Sciences Mathématiques of the Paris Academy of Sciences. The award was shared with Henry J. Smith for their work on the theory of quadratic forms. Minkowski remained occupied with the arithmetic of quadratic forms for the rest of his life. In 1896 he gave a detailed account of his ‘geometry of numbers’ in which he developed geometrical methods for the treatment of certain problems in number theory.
During his short period at Göttingen Minkowski worked closely with David Hilbert and decisively influenced Hilbert's interest in mathematical physics. Minkowski's most celebrated work was in developing the mathematics that played a crucial role in Einstein's formulation of the theory of relativity. Einstein knew when he published the special theory of relativity in 1905 that the universe could not be adequately described using normal, or Euclidean, three-dimensional geometry. Minkowski's seminal idea was to view space and time as forming together a single four-dimensional continuum or manifold, known as space–time, rather than two distinct entities. In normal three-dimensional geometry, any point in space can be identified by three coordinates. The analog of this point in three-dimensional space is an event localized both in space and time in four-dimensional space–time.
Minkowski put forward his concept of space–time, or Minkowski space as it is sometimes called, in 1907 in his book Space and Time. Einstein himself was very forthright about the extent to which the theory of relativity depended on Minkowski's innovatory work. Space–time was a useful and elegant format for special relativity, and was essential for general relativity, published in 1916, in which space–time is allowed to be curved. It is the curvature of space–time that accounts for the phenomenon of gravitation.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • MINKOWSKI, HERMANN — (1864–1909), German mathematician. Minkowski, who was born in Alexoten, Lithuania, was taken to Koenigsberg, Germany, by his parents when he was eight years old. He held chairs of mathematics at Koenigsberg in 1895, Zurich in 1896, and in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Minkowski, Hermann — ▪ German mathematician born June 22, 1864, Aleksotas, Russian Empire [now in Kaunas, Lithuania] died Jan. 12, 1909, Göttingen, Germany       German mathematician who developed the geometrical theory of numbers and who made numerous contributions… …   Universalium

  • Minkowski, Hermann — (1864 1909)    German mathe matician. Born in Lithuania, his parents went to Germany when he was eight. He studied at the University of Konigsberg and taught at the University of Bonn, later becoming a professor at the University of Gottingen …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Minkowski, Hermann — ► (1864 1909) Matemático y físico lituano. Es autor de unos trabajos que permitieron una interpretación geométrica de la teoría de la relatividad restringida de Einstein, recurriendo a un espacio de cuatro dimensiones …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Minkowski — Minkowski, Hermann …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hermann Minkowski — (* 22. Juni 1864 in Aleksotas, damals Russland (heute Kaunas, Litauen); † 12. Januar 1909 in Göttingen) war ein deutscher Mathematiker und Physike …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hermann Minkowski — Nacimiento 22 de junio de 1864 Kaunas, Lituania (antiguamente Aleksot …   Wikipedia Español

  • MINKOWSKI (H.) — MINKOWSKI HERMANN (1864 1909) Mathématicien allemand né en Russie, à Alexoten, et mort à Göttingen. Hermann Minkowski habita Königsberg dès sa plus tendre enfance, et il fit ses études universitaires à Königsberg et à Berlin. De 1887 à 1902, il… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Minkowski — (Hermann) (1864 1909) mathématicien lituanien. Il fonda une géométrie des nombres …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hermann Minkowski — Infobox Scientist name = Hermann Minkowski |300px caption = birth date = birth date|1864|6|22|mf=y birth place = Aleksotas, Kaunas, Lithuania, Russian Empire death date = death date and age|1909|1|12|1864|6|22|mf=y death place = Göttingen,… …   Wikipedia

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