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Metascience

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 75–79 | Cite as

The importance of being Weyl

Hermann Weyl: Philosophy of mathematics and natural science. With a new introduction by Frank Wilczek, Princeton University Press, 2009, 336 pp, $35.00
  • Thomas RyckmanEmail author
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The name of Hermann Weyl is liberally distributed across the terrain of theoretical physics: Weyl spinor fields, the Weyl equation (for a massless Dirac field), the Weyl (integrated) form of the Heisenberg commutation relations, and the Weyl tensor in general relativity and related Weyl curvature hypothesis (both baptized by Roger Penrose). Weyl’s Gruppentheorie und Quantenmechanik (19281, 19312) inaugurated the study, termed ‘Weyl’s Program’ by the late George Mackey, of quantum structures through the theory of linear representations of discrete and continuous groups. Raum-Zeit-Materie,Weyl’s epochal work on general relativity that went through five German editions in 6 years (1918–1923), introduced the concept of linear (affine) connection to describe the gravitational-inertial field. Buried in an appendix of the fifth edition, alas never translated, is an expanding universe model, independently of famous results of A. A. Friedmann, in which a ‘world radius’ is derived...

References

  1. Debs, Talal A., and Michael L.G. Redhead. 2007. Objectivity, invariance, and convention: Symmetry in physical science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ladyman, James, and Don Ross. 2007. Every thing must go. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  4. van Fraassen, Bas C. 2008. Scientific representation: Paradoxes of perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Weyl, Hermann. 2009. Insight and reflection. In Hermann Weyl: Mind and nature; selected writings on philosophy, mathematics, and physics, ed. Peter Pesic. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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