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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hermann Weyl and general relativity


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, ETH Zurich

Photo license: CC BY-SA 3.0


Hermann Weyl (1885-1955) was a German mathematician and physicist best known for his contributions to number theory. Mathematician Erhard Scholz said,


"[Weyl] realized that formal mathematics might even have an advantage over immediately insightful 'phenomenological' mathematics, because in its conceptual constitution it was free from the restrictions of the latter. I will call this view the symbolic realism of 'mature' Weyl." (Philosophy as a Cultural Resource and Medium of Reflection for Hermann Weyl, 2004)


Physicist Alfred Iorio said,


"In the first attempt to introduce gauge theories in physics, Hermann Weyl around the 1920's, proposed certain scale transformations to be a fundamental symmetry of nature." (Using Weyl Symmetry to make Graphene, 2012)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Weyl.


General relativity


"Riemann... clearly left the real development of his ideas in the hands of some subsequent scientist whose genius as a physicist could rise to equal flights with his own as a mathematician. After a lapse of 70 years this mission has been fulfilled by Einstein." (Space-Time-Matter, 1952)


"A new development began for relativity theory after 1925 with its absorption into quantum physics. The first great success was scored by Dirac's quantum mechanical equations of the electron, which introduced a new sort of quantities, the spinors, besides the vectors and tenors into our physical theories." (Space-Time-Matter, 1952)