English translation of the last and very rare book by A. A. Friedmann (coauthored with V. K. Frederiks)

Vsevolod K. Frederiks, Alexander A. Friedmann, Foundations of the Theory of Relativity: Volume 1 Tensor Calculus (Minkowski Institute Press, Montreal 2015), 182 pages


To mark the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s general relativity the Minkowski Institute Press publishes the first English translation of a very rare book on general relativity (its only Russian publication was in 1924), which turned out to be the last book by A. A. Friedmann (co-authored with V. K. Frederiks). This is the first and the only published volume of a five-volume book project on the foundations of the theory of relativity, brutally terminated by the untimely and tragic death of Friedmann on 16 September 1925. Despite the fact that this book was published in 1924 and despite the presence of some unconventional notions and notations in it, this is still a valuable book, because it is written by two deep thinkers, particularly Friedmann who in 1922 had the deepest understanding of the cosmological implications of Einstein’s general relativity when he first showed that the Universe may expand (which was later discovered by Hubble). What also makes this book valuable is that Frederiks and Friedmann develop the formalism of tensor calculus from a physical point of view by showing why the ideas of general relativity need that formalism. In this sense the book can be even used for self-study.

Book with A. A. Friedmann’s papers on cosmology

Alexander A. Friedmann, Papers On Curved Spaces and Cosmology (Minkowski Institute Press, Montreal 2014), 74 pages


This book contains three papers by Friedmann – “On the Curvature of Space” (1922), “On the Possibility of a World with a Constant Negative Curvature of Space” (1924), and “On the Geometry of Curved Spaces”. The third paper is a 28-page manuscript (dated 15 April 1922) which has not been published even in Russian.

Unlike the existing two English translations of Friedmann’s 1922 and 1924 papers (done from the German publications), now these papers are translated directly from the original Russian texts.

Vesselin Petkov

New Book: “General Relativity: 1972 Lecture Notes” by Robert Geroch

Robert Geroch’s lecture notes on general relativity are unique in three main respects. First, the physics of general relativity and the mathematics, which describes it, are masterfully intertwined in such a way that both reinforce each other to facilitate the understanding of the most abstract and subtle issues. Second, the physical phenomena are first properly explained in terms of spacetime and then it is shown how they can be “decomposed” into familiar quantities, expressed in terms of space and time, which are measured by an observer. Third, Geroch’s successful pedagogical approach to teaching theoretical physics through visualization of even the most abstract concepts is fully applied in his lectures on general relativity by the use of around a hundred figures.

Although the book contains lecture notes written in 1972, it is (and will remain) an excellent introduction to general relativity, which covers its physical foundations, its mathematical formalism, the classical tests of its predictions, its application to cosmology, a number of specific and important issues (such as the initial value formulation of general relativity, signal propagation, time orientation, causality violation, singularity theorems, conformal transformations, and asymptotic structure of spacetime), and the early approaches to quantization of the gravitational field.

Robert Geroch, General Relativity: 1972 Lecture Notes (Minkowski Institute Press, Montreal 2013)


Minkowski Institute Press and Minkowski’s papers on relativity

Dear Colleagues,

This message is to inform you of the launching of a new academic publisher – the Minkowski Institute Press (MIP):


MIP’s first book is: “Hermann Minkowski, Space and Time: Minkowski’s papers on relativity” (Minkowski Institute Press, Montreal 2012), 123 pages.

Minkowski’s three papers have never been published together either in German or English and Das Relativitätsprinzip has not been translated into English so far. More information about the book is available at: http://minkowskiinstitute.org/mip/books/minkowski.html

Its free version is also available there as well as in Apple’s iBookstore:


MIP will publish textbooks (and lecture notes), monographs, and introductory science and technology books for a wider audience. All books will be ebooks, but print on demand is available; we have received advanced orders for the first book and a week ago the first 110 softcover copies were printed, half of which are now already sold.

Four distinct features of MIP are:

(i) offering books at affordable prices as a means to reach more readers all over the world,
(ii) authors receive 20-25% royalties based on the ebook price (royalties options are given in the publishing agreement the authors sign),
(iii) rapid publication; once a book is accepted (after a reasonable review period) and the submitted manuscript is in LaTeX, MIP will try to publish the ebook within a month.
(iv) most of the profit will be one of the steady sources of funding of a new institute (http://minkowskiinstitute.org/); so publishing with MIP will support the Minkowski Institute.

If you would like to receive the MIP Newsletter (announcing new publications), send a blank email to info[AT]minkowskiinstitute.org.

Best wishes,

Vesselin Petkov
Institute for Foundational Studies “Hermann Minkowski”
Montreal, Quebec, Canada