Background
Banesh Hoffmann was born in Richmond, Yorkshire, on 6 September 1906.
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.