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Banesh Hoffmann
Banesh hoffmann.jpg
Banesh Hoffmann, in the 1979 film Continuum, speaking about the theory of relativity
Born 6 September 1906 (1906-09-06)
Richmond, England
Died 5 August 1986 (1986-08-06) (aged 79)
Residence UK, US
Citizenship British
Fields Special and general relativity
Institutions Institute for Advanced Study
Queens College
Alma mater University of Oxford
Princeton University
Known for Einstein–Infeld–Hoffmann equations

Banesh Hoffmann (6 September 1906 – 5 August 1986) was a British mathematician and physicist known for his association with Albert Einstein.[1]


Banesh Hoffmann was born in Richmond, Yorkshire, on 6 September 1906. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Oxford, where he earned his bachelor of arts and went on to earn his doctorate at Princeton University.

While at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Hoffmann collaborated with Einstein and Leopold Infeld on the classic paper Gravitational Equations and the Problem of Motion. Einstein’s original work on general relativity was based on two ideas. The first was the equation of motion: a particle would follow the shortest path in four-dimensional space-time. The second was how matter affects the geometry of space-time. What Einstein, Infeld, and Hoffmann showed was that the equation of motion followed directly from the field equation that defined the geometry (see main article).

In 1937 Hoffmann joined the mathematics department of Queens College, part of the City University of New York, where he remained till the late 1970s. He retired in the 1960s but continued to teach one course a semester — in the fall a course on classical and quantum mechanics and in the spring one on the special and general theories of relativity.

He died on 5 August 1986. One of the Queens College mathematics department's honors for graduating seniors is named in his honor.[2]


Hoffmann became Einstein’s biographer in 1972 when he co-authored Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel with Einstein's secretary, Helen Dukas. The pair collaborated again in compiling Albert Einstein: The Human Side, a collection of quotations from Einstein's letters and other personal papers.

Hoffmann was also the author of The Strange Story of the Quantum, The Tyranny of Testing, About Vectors, and Relativity and Its Roots. He was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars and wrote the short story "Sherlock, Shakespeare, and the Bomb," published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in February 1966.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "B. Hoffman, Scientist Who Taught, Wrote". The New York Times. 7 August 1986. Retrieved 13 May 2013. Banesh Hoffmann, a physicist, mathematician and author who was a colleague and biographer of Albert Einstein, died Tuesday at his home in Flushing, N.Y. He was 79. 
  2. ^ http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Academics/Degrees/DMNS/Math/Resources/Pages/Awards.aspx
  3. ^ List of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banesh_Hoffmann — Please support Wikipedia.
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Albert Einstein, 1936, responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray; quoted in: Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffmann. P.S.S. It's ironic you keep referring to me as an atheist when I've never claimed ...
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Mon, 19 Sep 2011 12:02:20 -0700

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