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  • Katherine Brading

100 years of Noether's theorems


In 1918, Emmy Noether published a paper containing a result that physicists know and love, by which they connect symmetries to conserved quantities. Often referred to as "Noether's theorem", this is the first of two theorems that she proved in her 1918 paper. The second theorem is equally important for physics (e.g. through the Bianchi identities of General Relativity). Noether proved these theorems after Felix Klein and David Hilbert requested her help with a problem they were wrestling with in the foundations of generally covariant theories (such as Einstein's General Relativity). For Noether, it was a side issue, but the resulting 1918 paper is the one for which she is most famous among physicists, and it is these theorems that were the subject of my D.Phil. dissertation (and a bunch of my papers, some of them co-authored with my D.Phil. advisor Harvey Brown).

I know of at least two events celebrating the centenary of Noether's theorems, and would be happy to hear about them if you know of more.

London, UK: The LMS-IMA Joint Meeting: Noether Celebration marks the 100th Anniversary of Emmy Noether's paper on Conservation Laws. 11 September, 2018.

Boston, USA: BOSTON COLLOQUIUM FOR PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE: 100 Years of Emmy Noether’s Theorems. Friday, November 30th, 2018. Kilachand Center, Room 101, 610 Commonwealth Ave.

Read more about her theorems in this article celebrating the centenary, by Emily Conover in ScienceNews.


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Email: katherine.brading@duke.edu

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