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Mathematical Treasure: Minkowski's Collected Papers

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Hermann Minkowski (1864-1909) was a German mathematician noted for his work on quadratic forms and his theory of the “geometry of numbers.” His development of a four-dimensional non-Euclidean space-time opened the way for relativity studies.

Minkowski’s collected papers were published in 1911 by David Hilbert, assisted by Andreas Speiser and Hermann Weyl. Above is the title page of the 1911 Gesammelte Abhandlungen.

A signed portrait of Minkowski serves as the frontispiece.

In the first page of the “Table of Contents” for the Gesammelte Abhandlungen, shown above, note the frequency of publication in Crelle’s Journal, an influential mathematics forum at this time.

The second page of the “Table of Contents” for the Gesammelte Abhandlungen, shown above, shows a wider variety of journals.

As shown above, Hilbert's tribute to Minkowski begins right after the Table of Contents. This page can be read more easily in the image below.

Directly above and below: First two pages of Hilbert’s introductory tribute to Hermann Minkowski

Read the entire Gesammelte Abhandlungen online via the John M. Kelly Library of the University of Toronto.

The images above are provided courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Minkowski's Collected Papers," Convergence (January 2015)