Talk:Constantin Carathéodory

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Alledged letters need substantiation[edit]

On December 30, 2005, an anonymous editor added the following to the article:

On December 19, 2005 Israeli officials along with Israel' ambassador to Athens, Ram Aviram presented to the Greek foreign ministry with copies of 10 letters between Albert Einstein and Constantin Carathéodory [Karatheodoris] that suggest that the work of Carathéodory help shape some of Albert Einstein's theories. The letters were part of a long correspondence which lasted from 1916 to 1930. Aviram said that according to experts at the National Archives of Israel - custodians of the original letters - the mathematical side of Einstein's physics theory was partly substantiated through the work of Carathéodory, Aviram said.

I find this to be out-of-character with the rest of this article, and suspect a hoax. It needs to be supported by a verifyable reference. (In fact this whole article needs to be properly sourced and those references documented, but I can give the rest of it the benefit of a doubt.) --EMS | Talk 06:40, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Try [1]. Why 'suspect a hoax' when this is the first Google hit? Scepticism is all very well, but this page gives a 1916 letter from E to C. I supposed Aviram isn't a great expert in GR, so his opinion might not be worth so much.Charles Matthews 10:54, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
Not a hoax at all. It made the news world wide. Check out the article for AFP press Einstein's letters

~Mallaccaos 8 February 2006

It is factually corect that correspondence between Caratheodory and Einstein discussing various matters exists, but then again correspondence has been a stardard and valuable means of scientific dialog and cross-pollination of ideas. So, I also find this passage out of character. What did they discuss? It is vague and it does not convey anything more specific than "Hey! This guy used to talk with Einstein and helped shape his ideas! He used to play in the big league!" I happen to be Greek but I would rather see Caratheodory's axiomatization of thermodynamics in 1909 mentioned in this entry, rather than this kind of vague "factoids with implications". 16:13, 12 March 2006 (UTC)CogRusty

If this was not factual based it would have been stated as such. As it stand it was ==Israeli== officials who contacted Greek officials regarding these correspondences. Why would the Israeli government body, more specifically the National Archives of Israel - custodians of the original letters - whom I'm sure consulted their own scientists in this matter and more then probably looked over the corresondence carefully, say it was what they are saying it is, if it "wasn't"? ~Mallaccaos 30 March 2006

Neutralization needed?[edit]

The existence of the Einstein-Carathéodory correspondence seems to be established. I'd like to see more evidence that Aviram's apparent claim that Carathéodory deserves some credit for special relativity made "headlines worldwide" (I certainly never saw any of those headlines) and I'd like to know more about this Aviram. Who is he, what is his training background? Do any reputable historians of science give serious credence to the suggestion that Carathéodory deserves some credit for special relativity? Until such time as someone can supply reliable sources, I propose we tone down the claims in the article. ---CH 21:57, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, shoulda Googled Aviram. To answer my own question, it appears that he is the Israeli ambassador to Greece. This episode may well represent, not a significant new finding in the history of science, but some kind of political initiative by the ambassador. Given this, I definitely think we should tone down the description of this episode in the article until someone can clarify what this was all about. Someone did try to provide links to news items, but these links appear to be broken, so they should be replaced with valid links. ---CH 22:00, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

YEARS LATER: Some years have now passed with nothing more being heard of these letters presented by the Israeli ambassador. What happened to them remains a mystery - which is strange if they were so significant. The truth is also now sufficiently clear: it was politics not science. The dating of the letters indicates they were identical with the 10 letters published 5 years earlier at the time of the 2000 Carathéodory Symposium. Only three of the letters have scientific interest and these had by then already been published in volume 8 of the Collected Works of Einstein (Princeton Univ. Press 1987). In them Carathéodory does not discuss relativity but classical dynamics, and neither does he reply to Einstein's question concerning relativity. There appear to be altogether 12 items of correspondence Carathéodory-Einstein which are easily and freely available from Einstein Archives Online. It is curious that the 10 omit from the 12 the only item on relativity - the brief summary of Carathéodory's 1924 paper sent to Einstein at the time of publication.JFB80 (talk) 15:34, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Correction (later): the 11th and 12th items are the 1924 summary and a congratulatory telegram from Einstein which apparently is only known from its mention by Caratheodory's daughter Mrs Rodopoulou. (talk) 17:42, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Online photographic archives[edit]

I put the following images archives on display, with translations where applicable, for the convenience of any interested parties[edit]

2 Large portraits, 1 double large Greek stamp

  • Sources info: None available on site
  • Copyrights info: [2][edit]

  1. Portraits from various periods and other photos (20 in total)
  2. Family portraits and photos (22 in total)
  3. 4 signed portraits dedicated to Caratheodory Greek general Plastiras, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Smyrna, Albert Einstein and Hilbert!
  4. Places of interest Important places in the life of Caratheodory (19 total)]
  5. Misc. photos 3 personal hand-writtings, 1 bust, 1 Greek stamp (5 total)
  6. Photos from the International Congress "Constantin Caratheodory", Sept. 1-4, 2000 Vissa, Orestiada, Greece. Organisers and speakers from the congress including his daughter Despoina Caratheodory
  7. 19th Hellenic Mathematical Education Symposium Hellenic Mathematical Society, 8-9-10 Nov. 2003, Komotini, Greece. Various images including his daughter Despoina Caratheodory (6 total)
  8. Honorary function in memory of C. Caratheodory orginised by the educational institution 'Linardatos-Auguleas Present Mrs. Despina Caratheodory-Rodopoulos.
  9. Construction of C.Caratheodory's statue Speech of (now former) Komitini's Mayor Mr. Vavatsiclis, Komotini, Greece (7 total)

I hope someone will find these interesting No31328 23:58, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Importance rating recommendation / general comments[edit]

In my opinion, this article should be rated of Minor importance, as Constantin Carathéodory's discoveries, while significant, weren't groundbreaking.

Rather than be a reflection of the significance of his work, interest in Carathéodory stems from a combination of

1) his cosmopolitan background and interests, which, even for a european academic, were unusual in his time
2) the value of his textbooks, which were clearly written and took an unconventional approach
3) his reputation as a "renaissance man", unusually well educated in philosophy, history, etc.
4) his inititiatives in establishing educational institutions.

The tone of the article is one of uncritical admiration and, in fact, I think, this is one of the few times where I have felt that appropriate in an encyclopedia article

--Philopedia 16:22, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

You are probably not a mathematician otherwise you would know that Carathéodory's name crops up in really basic maths. His extension theorem for measure theory is fundamental for example. Every undergraduate should have met it. Also the existence theorem for ordinary differential equations is basic JFB80 (talk) 19:49, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Language Talent?[edit]

I removed the following sentence "Carathéodory inherited a talent for languages which extends over generations in his family" for the following reason. While the possible existance of innate Language Learning Aptitude is a very controversial topic in psycholinguistics, there is no scientific evidence that such aptitude can extend over generations. The sentence was an interesting stylistic choice, but scientifically misleading.


How do you pronounce his last name?

As it is written but the stress is on the final vowel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JFB80 (talkcontribs) 14:32, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Here is a recording of someone pronouncing the name: (talk/contrib/@) 20:22, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 09:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Books, Published works[edit]

I believe the list of books should be moved under Published Works, near the end of the article. Any objections? Sv1xv (talk) 09:11, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

It has been done.JFB80 (talk) 06:53, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Update needed[edit]

Museum is operational, see (greek) update needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Soathana (talkcontribs) 14:52, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Update done :)Ntipouan (talk) 20:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

reliable source needed for claim that his thermodynamics was acclaimed by Planck[edit]

A reliable source is needed for the claim that Carathéodory's axiomatization of thermodynamics was acclaimed by Planck. There is not mention of it in Planck's 1922 seventh edition treatise.Chjoaygame (talk) 02:38, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

No source has been offered for the statement that Planck acclaimed Carathéodory's axiomatization. If no source is forthcoming I will shortly delete the part of the statement that includes Planck. It is true that Born acclaimed Carathéodory's axiomatization, and I will not delete that.Chjoaygame (talk) 03:17, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't know exactly where Planck said that, but there's a secondary source here (clearly predating wikipedia). Someone not using his real name (talk) 03:01, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
The sequencing in that source suggests it may have been in Planck's speech at the Prussian Academy of Sciences, with the occasion of Carathéodory's visit in 1919. Someone not using his real name (talk) 03:07, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
On the other hand, the paper Constantin Carathéodory and the axiomatic thermodynamics by Lionello Pogliani and Mario N. Berberan-Santos says something rather contrary: "The axiomatic treatment of Carathéodory started rather noiseless and it was only in 1921 that M. Born wrote three important articles [2–4] about Carathéodory’s axiomatic treatment. After that, the axiomatic thermodynamics caught the attention of well-known physicists of those times, and particularly of A. Landé (1888–1975) [5], M. Planck (1858–1947) [6], S. Chandrasekhar (1910–1995) [7], and W. Pauli (1900–1958) [8], among others, who recognized, and in one case even sharply criticized Carathéodory’s work. [...] If M. Born was the first renowned scientist, soon after first world war, who with a series of three studies [2–4] centered the attention on the new method, then M. Planck in 1926 [6] was the first sharp criticizer of the new method. He, in fact, concluded that the Thomson–Clausius treatment was far more reliable. Max Planck’s preferences were due to the fact that Thomson’s definition was much nearer to experimental evidence, i.e., to natural processes, which at the very end are the only ground on which all natural laws are erected. It is interesting to read his own words on the argument, “hat wohl noch niemand jemals Versuch angestellt in der Absicht, alle Nachbarzustände irgendeines bestimmten Zustandes auf adiabatischen Wege zu erreichen, . . . , das Prinzip gibt aber kein Merkmal an, durch welches die erreichbaren Nachbarzustände von den unerrreichbaren Nachbarzustände zu unterscheiden sind” (nobody has up to now ever tried to reach, through adiabatic steps only, every neighborhood of any equilibrium state and to check if they are inaccessible, . . . , this axiom gives us no hint which would allow us to differentiate between the inaccessible from the accessible states). Planck himself tried to put forward a treatment between Thomson–Clausius’ and Carathéodory’s approaches. His treatment was also based on the properties of Pfaffians." Anyway, that article is quite interesting, as it goes beyond most textbooks on the debates. (I've only quoted small portion here.) Someone not using his real name (talk) 03:16, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

edit that Einstein was student[edit]

The usual biographies do not record that Einstein was a student of Carathéodory. The edit would need a reliable source if it were to stand.Chjoaygame (talk) 03:11, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

He could not have been because when Carathéodory started his academic career in 1908, Einstein had already completed the special theory of relativity. Their first known contact was in 1916.JFB80 (talk) 16:43, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
It is popularly believed (especially in Greece) that Einstein once said of Carathéodory, "he was my teacher". The source is given as an interview in 1954 with further details unclear. It is possible that Einstein could have said this because Carathéodory's 1924 paper on Special Relativity showed how Einstein's axioms could be simplified. JFB80 (talk) 21:29, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Καραθεοδωρή or Καραθεοδωρής ?[edit]

Carathéodory himself invariably used the form Καραθεοδωρή corresponding to the Latinized version. Καραθεοδωρής is more formal and also occurs but rarely e.g. for the museum devoted to his work. Some of his ancestors also used this form. There is an extensive discussion about the correct spelling in the talk section of the Greek version of Wikipedia. The final contributor there appears to have given the correct explanation of the usual spelling that it uses of the genitive case of his family name which states his origin and who was his father (who also used the same spelling). The feminine form is also genitive.JFB80 (talk) 18:48, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Constantin Carathéodory/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

More information on mathematical and thermodynamical contributions needed. See also the comments of Philopedia on the talk page. In particular this article is arguably only Low importance, but I support the Mid rating. Geometry guy 13:19, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 13:19, 27 April 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 12:12, 29 April 2016 (UTC)