Hermann Minkowski, Relativity and the Axiomatic Approach to Physics

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This article surveys the general background to Minkowski's incursion into relativity, of which Einstein's work represented just one side. Special attention is paid to the idiosyncratic, rich, and complex interaction between mathematics and physics, that stood at the center of attention of the Gttingen mathematicians since the turn of the twentieth century. In particular the article explains Minkowski's formulation of special relativity in terms of space-time against the background of David Hilbert's program for the axiomatization of physics. In addition, the article sheds light on the changing attitudes of Einstein towards mathematics, in the wake of Minkowski's work, and his increasing willingness to attribute significance to mathematical formalism in developing physical theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMinkowski Spacetime:
Subtitle of host publicationA Hundred Years Later
EditorsVesselin Petkov
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages39
ISBN (Print)978-90-481-3475-5
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameFundamental Theories of Physics

Bibliographical note



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