Hilbert and physics (1900-1915)

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The name of David Hilbert (1862-1943) usually arises in connection with the history of physics in three different and rather circumscribed contexts. The first of these is the famous list of twenty three problems that Hilbert presented in 1900 in Paris, on the occasion of the Second International Congress of Mathematicians. The sixth problem of this list deals specifically with physics. Only one year before the Paris Congress Hilbert had published his seminal study on the foundations of geometry, Die Grundlagen der Geometrie. The axiomatic approach adopted by Hilbert in this book was to have an enormous influence on the development of twentieth century mathematics and on the way mathematicians looked at their science. Hilbert ‘s sixth problem was the suggestion that an analysis similar to that performed for the case of geometry in the Grundlagen should also be applied to individual physical disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Symbolic Universe
Subtitle of host publicationGeometry and Physics 1890-1930
EditorsJeremy Gray
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)9780198500889
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1999


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