The 1918 Noether Theorem:

Noether [ in German ] & Tavel [ in English ]

In introducing his translation of her classic paper, Morton Tavel tells us that:

"The well-known theorem of Emmy Noether plays a role of fundamental importance in many branches of theoretical physics. Because it provides a straightforward connection between the conservation laws of a physical theory and the invariances of the variational integral whose Euler-Lagrange equations are the [governing] equations of that theory, it may be said that Noether's theorem has placed the Lagrangian formulation in a position of primacy. In addition, the theorem brought about a situation whereby the search for conservation laws and selection rules has been reduced to the systematic study of the symmetries of a theory and the corresponding invariances of its Lagrangian."

 

Tavel recently also told us the motivation for his translation, to wit:

" You might be interested in the little story of why I translated it. When I needed more detail on her theorem for my PhD thesis, I tried in vain to get a copy of the Gottingen Nachrichten on interlibrary loan. Finally, I went to the NY Public Library and entered the bowels of their basement. I gave the person at the desk the name of the journal and sat down to wait. After about 1/2 hour, a small lift rose behind the desk bearing an ancient, dust-covered journal. When I got to the page, it was an article on Greek Vases. I realized then that they had the correct journal, but the wrong series. Another 1/2 hour passed and another journal rose from the depths. This was the right journal, but as I began turning the pages, they literally crumbled in my hands. I suddenly had the terrible realization that this might be the last anyone in New York would see of Noether's theorem. At that moment, I began to do the translation, while sitting in the basement of the library. "

Finally, Prof. Tavel suggested that both versions be placed on the Web so that they could be viewed side-by-side. This is most easily done in any browser by simply opening it twice and putting one version above the other [i.e., horizontally tiled] so that several lines appear simultaneously in German and in English.

Noether 1918 Paper [ German ]

Tavel 1971 Translation [ English ]

All About Emmy Noether