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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Hermann Minkowski Quotes

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Hermann Minkowski
(22 Jun 1864 - 12 Jan 1909)

Russian-German mathematician.

Science Quotes by Hermann Minkowski (3 quotes)

Integers are the fountainhead of all mathematics.
— Hermann Minkowski
In Diophantische Approximationen, Preface. As cited in Claudi Alsina and Roger B. Nelsen, Charming Proofs: A Journey into Elegant Mathematics (2011), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Integer (8)  |  Mathematics (1027)

The rigid electron is in my view a monster in relation to Maxwell's equations, whose innermost harmony is the principle of relativity... the rigid electron is no working hypothesis, but a working hindrance. Approaching Maxwell's equations with the concept of the rigid electron seems to me the same thing as going to a concert with your ears stopped up with cotton wool. We must admire the courage and the power of the school of the rigid electron which leaps across the widest mathematical hurdles with fabulous hypotheses, with the hope to land safely over there on experimental-physical ground.
— Hermann Minkowski
In Arthur I. Miller, Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (1981), 350.
Science quotes on:  |  Concert (4)  |  Courage (53)  |  Electron (71)  |  Equation (88)  |  Experiment (580)  |  Harmony (65)  |  Hindrance (4)  |  Hypothesis (245)  |  James Clerk Maxwell (80)  |  Monster (24)  |  Relativity (54)  |  Rigid (12)  |  Safe (26)

The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.
— Hermann Minkowski
'Space And Time', a translation of an address delivered at the 80th Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians, at Cologne, 21 Sep 1908. In H.A. Lorentz, H. Weyl, H. Minkowski, et al., The Principle of Relativity: A Collection of Original Memoirs on the Special and General Theory of Relativity (1952), 74. Also seen translated as, “From henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, have vanished into the merest shadows and only a kind of blend of the two exists in its own right.”
Science quotes on:  |  Space-Time (14)

Quotes by others about Hermann Minkowski (1)

[Lecturing:] This has been done elegantly by Minkowski; but chalk is cheaper than grey matter, and we will do it as it comes.
Via George Pσlya, present at an early lecture on Special Relativity by Einstein, who at the time preferred to show his own old formulation, not yet embracing Minkowski’s geometrical reformulation. Quote given as Pσlya’s recollection in J.E. Littlewood, A Mathematician’s Miscellany, (1953). Also in the expanded edition, Bιla Bollobαs (ed.), 'Odds and Ends', Littlewood’s Miscellany (1986), 152.
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (206)  |  Chalk (5)  |  Cheap (10)  |  Elegant (14)  |  Lecture (61)  |  Special Relativity (4)

See also:
  • 22 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Minkowski's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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