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Friday, November 27, 2015

Einstein and Geometry

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:01 PM

(A Prequel to Dirac and Geometry)

"So Einstein went back to the blackboard.
And on Nov. 25, 1915, he set down
the equation that rules the universe.
As compact and mysterious as a Viking rune,
it describes space-time as a kind of sagging mattress…."

— Dennis Overbye in The New York Times  online,
     November 24, 2015

Some pure  mathematics I prefer to the sagging Viking mattress —

Readings closely related to the above passage —

Thomas Hawkins, "From General Relativity to Group Representations:
the Background to Weyl's Papers of 1925-26
," in Matériaux pour
l'histoire des mathématiques au XXe siècle:
Actes du colloque
à la mémoire de Jean Dieudonné
, Nice, 1996  (Soc. Math.
de France, Paris, 1998), pp. 69-100.

The 19th-century algebraic theory of invariants is discussed
as what Weitzenböck called a guide "through the thicket
of formulas of general relativity."

Wallace Givens, "Tensor Coordinates of Linear Spaces," in
Annals of Mathematics  Second Series, Vol. 38, No. 2, April 1937, 
pp. 355-385.

Tensors (also used by Einstein in 1915) are related to 
the theory of line complexes in three-dimensional
projective space and to the matrices used by Dirac
in his 1928 work on quantum mechanics.

For those who prefer metaphors to mathematics —

"We acknowledge a theorem's beauty
when we see how the theorem 'fits' in its place,
how it sheds light around itself, like a Lichtung ,
a clearing in the woods." 
— Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts ,
Birkhäuser Boston, 1997, page 132

Rota fails to cite the source of his metaphor.
It is Heidegger's 1964 essay, "The End of Philosophy
and the Task of Thinking" —

"The forest clearing [ Lichtung ] is experienced
in contrast to dense forest, called Dickung  
in our older language." 
— Heidegger's Basic Writings 
edited by David Farrell Krell, 
Harper Collins paperback, 1993, page 441

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