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Kaluza—Klein Theory

  • Daniela Wuensch

Theodor Kaluza (1885–1954) set forth his idea of unifying gravitation and electromagnetism within five-dimensional space-time in a paper from the beginning of 1919. It was presented by Albert Einstein (1879–1955) to the Berlin Academy of Science and published in its Sitzungsberichte in 1921 under the title “Zum Unitätsproblem der Physik” [4]. Having received the manuscript from the author in April 1919, Einstein was so impressed with the idea of unifying the basic forces in a five-dimensional space that he used it himself up to the mid-1940s in eight of his own papers.

Kaluza's idea of unifying gravitation and electromagnetism goes back to David Hilbert's (1862–1943) unification program and to the pioneering work of two of his pupils: Hilbert sought unification within a four-dimensional space by having electromagnetism come from gravitation in 1915 [2]. His pupil Gunnar Nordström (1881–1923) explored unification within a five-dimensional unwarped (Minkowskian) space in the foregoing year [7]. The unification attempt by Hermann Weyl (1885–1955) in 1918, finally, was to apply a gauge transformation within a four-dimensional space with a generalized non-Riemannian metric [10]. Although Nordström was the first to introduce a five-dimensional space, it was Kaluza's theory from 1919 that proposed a realistic unification of the two interactions. Nordström's theory predated the general theory of relativity (1915) so the gravitation was derived from electromagnetism within a space described by a Minkowskian flat metric. As a consequence, it could not explain phenomena like light deflection and was therefore condemned as a prerelativistic theory.

Keywords

Gauge Transformation Hide Variable Natural Force Basic Force Klein Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Primary Literature

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Secondary Literature

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

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  • Daniela Wuensch

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