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Hermann Minkowski

Born: 22-Jun-1864
Birthplace: Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: 12-Jan-1909
Location of death: Göttingen, Germany
Cause of death: Appendicitis
Remains: Buried, Friedhof Heerstraße, Berlin, Germany

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Mathematician, Physicist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Minkowski space

German mathematician Hermann Minkowski began his career at the age of 18, co-winning (with respected mathematician Henry Smith) a contest sponsored by the French Academy of Science with a solution to the problem of the number of representations of an integer as the sum of five squares. He later proposed a four-dimensional 'space-time continuum' (now called Minkowski space) to explain aspects of electrodynamics, a framework which has since been applied to a broad range of mathematical work in relativity. His students included Constantin Carathéodory and Albert Einstein, and he was a friend and frequent collaborator with mathematician David Hilbert. His brother, physician and researcher Oskar Minkowski, made the first major breakthrough toward determining the cause of diabetes, and his nephew, astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski, observed galaxies in collision.

Father: Lewin Minkowski (businessman)
Mother: Rachel Taubmann Minkowski
Brother: Oskar Minkowski (physician)
Brother: Max Minkowski (grain wholesaler)
Wife: Auguste Adler Minkowski (m. 1897, two daughters)
Daughter: Lily (b. 1898)
Daughter: Ruth (b. 1902)

    High School: Königsberg Gymnasium, Königsberg, Germany
    University: University of Berlin (attended)
    University: PhD Mathematics, University of Königsberg (1885)
    Teacher: Mathematics, University of Bonn (1887-94)
    Teacher: Mathematics, University of Königsberg (1894-96)
    Professor: Mathematics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1896-1902)
    Professor: Mathematics, University of Göttingen (1902-09)

    Lunar Crater Minkowski (named for Minkowski and his nephew, Rudolph Minkowski)
    Asteroid Namesake 12493 Minkowski
    German Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
Raum und Zeit (Space and Time) (1907)
Zwei Abhand lungen über die Grundgleichungen der Elektrodynamik (Two Treatises on the Fundamental Equations of Electrodynamics) (1909)
Geometrie der Zahlen (Geometry of Numbers) (1910)


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