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Einstein’s Tutor

The book cover

On Emmy Noether’s birthday in 2022 I announced that I was writing a book about her and the impact of Noether’s Theorem, and that it would be available in September of 2024. I’m happy to say that all went well. PublicAffairs will bring out the hardcover and electronic versions on September 10th.

Emmy Noether

She was a mathematical genius born into a society where women were not permitted to study or teach in universities: Germany at the turn of the 20th century. Consumed with a passion for math, she audited courses, then enrolled when the law changed to allow it, getting her PhD in 1907. She was not allowed to teach officially until the end of WWI, when she finally became a professor. Noether, a Jew, was removed from that job by the Nazis in 1933 and escaped to the United States.

Noether was one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, remaking and inventing entire fields of mathematics. According to current research mathematicians, her methods of thinking and teaching permeate the entire discipline.

Noether’s Theorem

Noether gave crucial assistance to Albert Einstein, guiding him to the completion of his General Theory of Relativity. This led to her publication in 1918 of what we now call Noether’s Theorem. This result, relating symmetries with conservation laws, provides the modern definition of energy and explains why energy is not conserved in the universe as a whole. Many scientists describe it as the most important result in all of theoretical physics. In the same work Noether invented the concept of the gauge theory; she also created the modern formulation of representation theory. The Standard Model, the current theory of the elementary particles, is an application of these ideas. Noether’s work, therefore, provides the foundation for most of fundamental modern physics.

The Book

Einstein’s Tutor tells the story of Emmy Noether’s life, describes the role of her work in the history of science, and explains why you haven’t heard of her. It’s aimed at a general audience and contains only two tiny equations, both of which you’ve seen before.

Using original research, I describe details of Noether’s life and death that have never appeared before, and trace the passage of the ideas in her Theorem from its creation down to the present day, where it’s escaped from physics and is being applied in biology, economics, quantum computing, and more.

Einstein’s Tutor will be available on September 10th, 2024, but you can preorder it now.

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