Welcome to CWP at UCLA |
86 Eminent Physicists |
Mathematical Physics
"In the realm of algebra, in which the most gifted mathematicians have been busy for centuries, she discovered methods which have proved of enormous importance... Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. ... In this effort toward logical beauty, spiritual formulas are discovered necessary for deeper penetration into the laws of nature." --- Albert Einstein, in a tribute to Emmy Noether [NYT1935ae]
Noether's work is of paramount importance to physics and the interpretation of fundamental laws in terms of group theory. --- Feza Gursey [encp1983nj]
Important ContributionsProved that a physical system described by a Lagrangian invariant with respect to the symmetry transformations of a Lie group has, in the case of a group with a finite (or countably infinite) number of independent, infinitesimal generators, a conservation law for each such generator, and certain `dependencies' in the case of a larger infinite number of generators. The latter case applies, for example, to the general theory of relativity and gives the Bianchi identities. These `dependencies' lead to understanding of energy-momentum conservation in the general theory. Her paper proves both the theorems described above and their converses. These are collectively referred to by physicists as Noether's Theorem.
The key to the relation of symmetry laws to conservation laws is Emmy Noether's celebrated Theorem. ... Before Noether's Theorem the principle of conservation of energy was shrouded in mystery, leading to the obscure physical systems of Mach and Ostwald. Noether's simple and profound mathematical formulation did much to demystify physics. --- Feza Gursey [encp1983nj] An historical account of how she came to make this discovery is given in E. Noether's Discovery of the Deep Connection Between Symmetries and Conservation Laws. The main body of her work was in the creation of modern abstract algebra. As the topologist P. S. Alexandrov wrote
Specifically, Nathan Jacobson writes
And Hermann Weyl writes of her important later work
Some Important Publications"Invariante Variationsprobleme," Nachr. v. d. Ges. d. Wiss. zu Göttingen 1918, pp 235-257 _{ } English translation by M. A. Tavel. "Moduln in nichtkommutativen bereichen, insobesondere aus Differential- und Differen-zenaus-drucken," Math. Zs. 8:1 (1920) with W. Schmeidler. "Idealtheories in Ringbereichen," Math. Ann. 83:24 (1921). "Hyperkomplexe Grossen und Darstellungstheorie," Math. Zs. 30:641 (1929). "Beweis eines Hauptsatzes in der Theorie de Algebren," Journal f. d. reine u. amgew. Math. 167:399 (1932) with R. Brauer and H. Hasse. "Nichtkommutative Algebren," Math. Zs. 37:514 (1933). Honors1907 Doctorate summa cum laude University of Erlangen 1908 member of the Circolo mathematico di Palermo [en1981ad] 1909 member Deutsche Mathematiker Vereinigung (DMV) [en1981ad] 1932 Co-winner, Alfred Ackermann-Teubner Memorial Prize for the Advancement of Mathematical Knowledge 1958 A conference at the University of Erlangen was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Noether's doctorate. 1982 Emmy Noether Gymnasium, a co-educational school emphasizing mathematics, natural sciences and language, opened in Erlangen, Germany on the 100th anniversary of Noether's birth. 1992 Emmy Noether Institute for Mathematical Research established in Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Jobs/Positions1908-1915 unpaid lecturer and supervisor of doctoral students in University of Erlangen. 1916-1922 unpaid lecturer and member of Hilbert's research team in the University of Göttingen. 1922-1933 nicht-beamteter ausserordentlicher Professor (adjunct, not-ordinary Professor - untenured), University of Göttingen. 1922-1933 Lehrauftrag for algebra - which brought her a small stipend; "the first and only salary she was ever paid in Göttingen." [h1970cr] 1933-1935 Visiting Professor, Bryn Mawr College. Education1903 Reifeprüfung, Königliches Realgymnasium, Nuremburg 1907 Doctorate in Mathematics, University of Erlangen 1919 habilitation, University of Göttingen References_{ } ,[en1981ad],[encp1983nj],[oibdpp1996nb], [h1970cr]
_{ }Additional Information/CommentsEmmy Noether's name is used to designate many concepts specific to abstract algebra ; for example,
She was never elected to the Königl. Gesellschaft
der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
. [h1970cr] Auguste Dick raises interesting questions regarding the fact that Noether was never appointed to a paid position in the faculty of the University of Göttingen: "How was it then that in her academic career she did not go beyond the [unpaid] level of nicht-beamteter ausserordentlicher Professor? ... Was it because she was Jewish? There were several Jewish Ordinarii in Göttingen. Was it because she was a member of the social- democratic party? ... Or was it her firm stance as a pacifist that was frowned upon? ..." -- [en1981ad] As a Jewish woman, in 1933 Emmy Noether was fired from her position as a privat docent in Göttingen. By decree no Jew was allowed to teach after Hitler came to power. (In 1934 women were dismissed from University posts.) Hermann Weyl wrote about her in this period
Part of a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times that Albert Einstein wrote on the occasion of her untimely death:
Recommended further readingon Emmy Noether's contributions to mathematics:
and the biography Emmy Noether (1882-1935) by Auguste Dick [en1981ad].
E. Noether's Discovery of the Deep Connection Between Symmetries and Conservation Laws in Israel Mathematical Conference Proceedings Vol. 12, 1999. Field Editor: Nina Byers<nbyers@physics.ucla.edu >
To cite this citation: |