Alfred Schild

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Alfred Schild (September 7, 1921 in Istanbul[1] – May 24, 1977 in Downer's Grove, Illinois) was a leading German-American physicist, well known for his contributions to the Golden age of general relativity (1960–1975).

Schild was born in Istanbul. His parents were German-speaking Viennese Jews,[2][3] but his early education was in England. Upon the outbreak of World War II Schild was interned as an enemy alien, but later allowed to travel to Canada. In 1944 he earned his B.A. at the University of Toronto, and in 1946 completed his doctorate under the direction of Leopold Infeld. Schild spent the next eleven years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he helped to develop the first atomic clocks.

In 1957 he moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where he became a leading member of the fledgling research group in general relativity. In 1959 he published an influential textbook coauthored with J. L. Synge. In 1965, with Roy Kerr, he developed the important notion of Kerr/Schild spacetimes. In a 1970 seminar at Princeton University, he introduced an important construction now known as Schild's Ladder.

Toward the end of his life, Schild was active in protests against the Vietnam war.

Professor Schild died in 1977 of a myocardial infarction.[4]

Schild's private papers are archived by the University of Texas.

In popular culture[edit]

The science fiction novel Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan drew heavily on concepts introduced or refined by Schild.



  • Oren, Amanda. "SCHILD, ALFRED". Handbook of Texas On-Line. Retrieved 7 August 2005. 
  • Debney, G.C.; Kerr, R. P. & Schild, A. (1969). "Solutions of the Einstein and Einstein-Maxwell Equations". J. Math. Phys. 10 (10): 1842. Bibcode:1969JMP....10.1842D. doi:10.1063/1.1664769. 
  • Kerr, R. P. & Schild, A. (1965). "Some algebraically degenerate solutions of Einstein's gravitational field equations". Proc. Symp. Appl. Math. 17: 199. 
  • Synge, J. L. & Schild, A. (1959). Tensor Calculus. Toronto: University of Toronto. ISBN 0-8020-1031-8. OCLC 6-007241.