Brunn–Minkowski theorem

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In mathematics, the Brunn–Minkowski theorem (or Brunn–Minkowski inequality) is an inequality relating the volumes (or more generally Lebesgue measures) of compact subsets of Euclidean space. The original version of the Brunn–Minkowski theorem (Hermann Brunn 1887; Hermann Minkowski 1896) applied to convex sets; the generalization to compact nonconvex sets stated here is due to Lazar Lyusternik (1935).

Statement of the theorem[edit]

Let n ≥ 1 and let μ denote the Lebesgue measure on Rn. Let A and B be two nonempty compact subsets of Rn. Then the following inequality holds:

where A + B denotes the Minkowski sum:


The proof of the Brunn–Minkowski theorem establishes that the function

is concave in the sense that, for every pair of nonempty compact subsets A and B of Rn and every 0 ≤ t ≤ 1,

For convex sets A and B of positive measure, the inequality in the theorem is strict for 0 < t < 1 unless A and B are positive homothetic, i.e. are equal up to translation and dilation by a positive factor.

See also[edit]


  • Brunn, H. (1887). "Über Ovale und Eiflächen". Inaugural Dissertation, München.
  • Fenchel, Werner; Bonnesen, Tommy (1934). Theorie der konvexen Körper. Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete. 3. Berlin: 1. Verlag von Julius Springer.
  • Fenchel, Werner; Bonnesen, Tommy (1987). Theory of convex bodies. Moscow, Idaho: L. Boron, C. Christenson and B. Smith. BCS Associates.
  • Dacorogna, Bernard (2004). Introduction to the Calculus of Variations. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 1-86094-508-2.
  • Heinrich Guggenheimer (1977) Applicable Geometry, page 146, Krieger, Huntington ISBN 0-88275-368-1 .
  • Lyusternik, Lazar A. (1935). "Die Brunn–Minkowskische Ungleichnung für beliebige messbare Mengen". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences de l'URSS. Nouvelle Série. III: 55–58.
  • Minkowski, Hermann (1896). Geometrie der Zahlen. Leipzig: Teubner.
  • Ruzsa, Imre Z. (1997). "The Brunn–Minkowski inequality and nonconvex sets". Geometriae Dedicata. 67 (3). pp. 337–348. doi:10.1023/A:1004958110076. MR 1475877.
  • Rolf Schneider, Convex bodies: the Brunn–Minkowski theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993.