Elwin Bruno Christoffel

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Elwin Bruno Christoffel
Elwin Bruno Christoffel.JPG
Born (1829-11-10)November 10, 1829
Montjoie, Rhine Province, Prussia
Died March 15, 1900(1900-03-15) (aged 70)
Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, German Empire
Nationality German
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Strasbourg
Alma mater University of Berlin

Elwin Bruno Christoffel (German: [kʀɪˈstɔfəl]; November 10, 1829 – March 15, 1900) was a German mathematician and physicist.


Christoffel attended the Jesuit Gymnasium and Friedrich-Wilhelms Gymnasium in Cologne and studied at the University of Berlin with Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet, among others, where he received a doctorate in 1856 for a thesis on the motion of electricity in homogeous bodies. In 1859, Christoffel became a Privatdozent at the University of Berlin. In 1862 he was appointed to a chair at the Polytechnic School in Zurich left vacant by Dedekind. After moving to the Gewerbeakademie in Berlin (now part of the Technical University of Berlin) in 1869, Christoffel became a professor at the University of Strasbourg in 1872, where he remained until retiring in 1894.


Christoffel worked on conformal maps, potential theory, invariant theory, tensor analysis, mathematical physics, geodesy, and shock waves. The Christoffel symbol, Riemann–Christoffel tensor, Christoffel–Darboux formula, and Schwarz–Christoffel mapping are named after him.

Christoffel introduced his symbols in a paper on differential forms in n variables, published in Crelle's Journal.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christoffel, E.B. (1869), "Ueber die Transformation der homogenen Differentialausdrücke zweiten Grades", Jour. für die reine und angewandte Mathematik, B. 70: 46–70