Banesh Hoffmann, in the 1979 film Continuum, speaking about the theory of relativity
|Born||6 September 1906
|Died||5 August 1986 (aged 79)|
|Fields||Special and general relativity|
|Institutions||Institute for Advanced Study
|Alma mater||University of Oxford
|Known for||Einstein–Infeld–Hoffmann equations|
Banesh Hoffmann was born in Richmond, England, on 6 September 1906. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Oxford, where he earned his bachelor of arts and went on to earn his doctorate at Princeton University.
While at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Hoffmann collaborated with Einstein and Leopold Infeld on the classic paper Gravitational Equations and the Problem of Motion. Einstein’s original work on general relativity was based on two ideas. The first was the equation of motion: a particle would follow the shortest path in four-dimensional space-time. The second was how matter affects the geometry of space-time. What Einstein, Infeld, and Hoffmann showed was that the equation of motion followed directly from the field equation that defined the geometry (see main article).
In 1937 Hoffmann joined the mathematics department of Queens College, part of the City University of New York, where he remained till the late 1970s. He retired in the 1960s but continued to teach one course a semester — in the fall a course on classical and quantum mechanics and in the spring one on the special and general theories of relativity.
He died on 5 August 1986. One of the Queens College mathematics department's honors for graduating seniors is named in his honor.
Hoffmann became Einstein’s biographer in 1972 when he co-authored Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel with Einstein's secretary, Helen Dukas. The pair collaborated again in compiling Albert Einstein: The Human Side, a collection of quotations from Einstein's letters and other personal papers.
Hoffmann was also the author of The Strange Story of the Quantum, The Tyranny of Testing, About Vectors, and Relativity and Its Roots. He was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars and wrote the short story "Sherlock, Shakespeare, and the Bomb," published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in February 1966.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Banesh Hoffmann|
- Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, a film by his daughter Deborah about the Alzheimer's disease of his widow Doris
- Basic concepts of quantum mechanics
- Einstein–Infeld–Hoffmann equations
- "B. Hoffman, Scientist Who Taught, Wrote". The New York Times. August 7, 1986. Retrieved 13 May 2013. "Banesh Hoffmann, a physicist, mathematician and author who was a colleague and biographer of Albert Einstein, died Tuesday at his home in Flushing, N.Y. He was 79."
- List of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine