FOM: Einstein

Vaughan Pratt pratt at CS.Stanford.EDU
Fri Jan 14 16:28:13 EST 2000

From: Robert Black <Robert.Black at>
>I suspect that the key person in this development is not Gauss, Bolyai or
>Lobachevsky but rather (for all sorts of reasons) Riemann.

Quite right, I should have perhaps have included Riemann in the chain
that led up to relativity.  But if Einstein had started from Riemann
rather than Ricci and Levi-Civita, now *that* would have been *utterly*
spectacular.  While Riemann is the undisputed father of manifolds,
the field had matured greatly in the intervening half-century by the
time Einstein became its most famous customer, and R&LC are the natural
jumping-off point for Einstein's development.

Vaughan Pratt

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