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Hermann Minkowski

1864 - 1909

Hermann Minkowski

Hermann Minkowski, 1869 - 1909, was a Lithuanian-born German mathematician, who was an early developer and contributor to Einstein's Special Relativity Theory.

  • Nationality
  • German

  • Subject
  • Astrophysics

  • Fields
  • Mathematics

  • Distinctions
  • Asteroid (12493) and a Moon crater are named in his honour.

  • Posts
  • Professorships at universities of Königsberg, Göttingen, Bonn, Zurich Polytechnic (ETH). Albert Einstein was one of his students at Zurich.

    Chair at Göttingen University, 1902 - 1909.

  • Publications
  • Diophantische Approximationen, 1907, a work on number theory.

    Raum und Zeit (Space and Time), 1909, a presentation to the DMV (Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung, German Mathematics Society), Leipzig, concerning Einstein's Special Relativity Theory.

    Geometrie der Zahlen, 1896, (The Geometry of Numbers).

    Letters to David Hilbert

  • Theories
  • Minkowski Theorem: geometry of numbers, a branch of number theory.

    Minkowski Diagram

    Number theory

    Mathematical physics: questions related to the newly discovered electrons and electrodynamics.

    Minkowski extended Einstein's Relativity Theory to 4-dimensional non-Euclidean space (Minkowski spacetime).

  • Equations
  • Minkowski Space

    Minkowski Equation


At the Königsberg University, Minkowski met and befriended David Hilbert, with whom he worked closely at Göttingen.

His fields of interest were many. He developed the geometry of numbers, a field of number theory, and applied mathematics to physics questions, such as a study of the newly discovered electron, and electrodynamics. In his last years, he developed Special Relativity to 4-dimensional, non-Euclidean space, in which Minkowski spacetime merges space and time.

His nephew was the astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski (1895 - 1976), who, being Jewish, fled Germany in the 1930s, and emigrated to the USA, where he worked at the Wilson Observatory from 1935.

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