Article ID: CBB000641782

Nordström, Ehrenfest, and the Role of Dimensionality in Physics (2004)


n the summer of 1916, Finnish physicist Gunnar Nordström (1881--1923) arrived in Leiden to carry out research with Paul Ehrenfest (1880--1933), Hendrik A. Lorentzrsquos successor in the chair of theoretical physics. Nordström had recently published the first five-dimensional unified model of the universe, a theory that went virtually unnoticed by the physics community. Ehrenfestrsquos personal journals reveal that Nordströmrsquos visit coincided with a flowering of Ehrenfestrsquos own interest in dimensionality, which resulted in his well-known paper on the connection between the fundamental laws of physics and the three-dimensionality of space. I examine Nordströmrsquos and Ehrenfestrsquos collaboration and explore the relationship between their ideas and the Kaluza-Klein model of five-dimensional unification. Key words. Gunnar Nordström - Paul Ehrenfest - Theodor Kaluza - Oskar Klein - Kaluza-Klein theory - extra dimensions - compactification

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Authors & Contributors
Pérez, Enric
Navarrho, Luis
Kaku, Michio
Sommer, Klaus P.
Darrigol, Olivier
Kox, A. J.
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Physics in Perspective
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Foundations of Science
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Atlas Books
Princeton University Press
Indiana University
Theoretical physics
Quantum mechanics
Correspondence and corresponding
Philosophy of science
Ehrenfest, Paul
Einstein, Albert
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Sommerfeld, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm
Born, Max
Klein, Oskar Benjamin
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
17th century
18th century
20th century
Berlin (Germany)
Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden

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