Matvei Bronstein,  1906 -1938



Физики о М. П. Бронштейне


1948    Vladimir Fock
1957    Lev Landau 2
1967    Igor Tamm
1995    John Stachel
2004    Carlo Rovelli 3
2006     Lee Smolin




1948  Vladimir Fock       


В.А.Фок.  Реферат статей М П Бронштейна по квантованию гравитации [Zentralblatt fur Math. und ihre Grenzgebiete. 1936. Bd. 14. S. 87]
фрагмент отзыва о работе Д Д Иваненко и А А Соколова, представленной на Сталинскую премию  [Архив РАН 1034-1-549]

... Работа (2) Иваненко и Соколова озаглавлена "Квантовая теория гравитации". Это заглавие не соответствует ее содержанию; правильнее было бы озаглавить работу более скромно, например, "Упрощенное изложение квантовой теории гравитации". Дело в том, что квантовая теория гравитации создана ленинградским физиком М.П.Бронштейном в его работе "Квантование гравитационных волн" (ЖЭТФ, т.6, с.195-236), напечатанной в 1936 году. Иваненко и Соколов используют результаты работы Бронштейна, хотя нигде в тексте на нее не ссылаются. <...> Каковы бы ни были причины, побудившие авторов замалчивать достижения Бронштейна, их работу никак нельзя рассматривать как построение квантовой теории гравитации, ибо такая теория была создана Бронштейном за 11 лет до них. ...

2 апреля 1948 г.                      Академик В.Фок





1956  Lev Landau  



Lev Landau, from his Preface to the new edition of M.Bronstein's book ["Solar matter"] "Солнечное вещество"(М.: Детгиз, 1959)

Книга "Солнечное вещество", принадлежащая перу безвременно погибшего талантливого физика Матвея Петро­вича Бронштейна, представляет собой незаурядное явле­ние в области мировой популярной литературы. Она написана настолько просто и увлекательно, что чтение ее, пожалуй, равно интересно любому читателю от школьника до физика-профессионала. Раз начав ее, трудно удержаться и не дочитать до конца.






1967  Igor Tamm     


Igor Tamm, from the article "Theoretical Physics", In: [The October revolution and scientific progress] Октябрь и научный прогресс(АПН, 1967)

"К середине 20-х годов появились еще немногочисленные выдающиеся исследования, навсегда оставшиеся в мировой теоретической физике. Бурно стала расти талантливая молодежь — люди, которым в это время было около 20 лет. В настоящее время их надо отнести уже ко «второму старшему поколению», и их яркими представителями явились Л. Д. Ландау, А. А. Андронов и другие. Некоторые исключительно яркие и многообещающие физики этого поколения безвременно погибли (М. П. Бронштейн, С. П. Шубин, А. А. Витт)"

Матвей Бронштейн
Родился 2.12.1906
Арестован 6.08.1937


Семен Шубин
Родился 31.07.1908
Арестован 27.04.1937
Погиб 28.11.1938

Александр  Витт
Родился 12 09.1902 года.
Арестован в мае 1937-го
Погиб в начале 1938-го





1995 John Stachel --  первый западный историк науки, написавший о М. П. Бронштейне


“History of Relativity” in “Twentieth century physics”. Eds. Laurie M. Brown, Abraham Pais, Sir Brian Pippard. Philadelphia, PA. : Institute of Physics Pub., 1995.

“The early history of quantum gravity" in “Black Holes, Gravitational radiation and the Universe,” B. R. Iyer and B. Bhawai (eds.) (Kluwer Academic Publisher, Netherlands 1999).




2004  Carlo Rovelli. Quantum Gravity(Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004, 455 p.)


The history of these early explorations of the quantum properties of spacetime has been recently reconstructed by John Stachel [317]. In particular, John describes in his paper the extensive, but largely neglected, work conducted in the mid thirties by a Russian physicist, Matvei Petrovich Bronstein. Persistent rumors claim that Bronstein was nephew of Leon Trotsky, and that he hid this relation that became dangerous, but Gennady Gorelik (of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and Institute for the History of Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences) assures me that this rumor is false. Bronstein re-derives the Rosenfeld-Pauli quantization of the linear theory, but realizes that the unique features of gravitation require a special treatment, when the full nonlinear theory is taken into account. He realizes that field quantization techniques must be generalized in such a way as to be applicable in the absence of a background geometry. In particular, he realizes that the limitation posed by general relativity on the mass density radically distinguishes the theory from quantum electrodynamics and would ultimate lead to the need to "reject Riemannian geometry" and perhaps also to "reject our ordinary concepts of space and time" [318]. The reason Bronstein has remained unknown for so long has partly to do with the fact that he was executed by the Soviet State Security Agency (the NKVD) at the age of 32. I am told that in Russia some still remember Bronstein as "smarter than Landau" (but Gorelik doubts this opinion could be shared by a serious physicist.) For a discussion of Bronstein's early work in quantum gravity see [319].

[317] J Stachel, "Early history of quantum gravity (1916-1940)", Presented at the HGR5, Notre Dame, July 1999. J Stachel, "Early history of quantum gravity" in 'Black Holes, Gravitational radiation and the Universe, B R Iyer, B Bhawal eds, (Kluwer Academic Publisher, Netherlands 1999).
[318]  M P Bronstein "Quantentheories schwacher Gravitationsfelder", Physikalische Zeitschrift der Sowietunion 9 (1936) 140.
[319]  G E Gorelik, "First Steps of Quantum Gravity and the Planck Values" in Studies in the history of general relativity. [Einstein Studies, vol 3], eds J Eisenstaedt and AJ Kox, p364-379 (Birkhaeuser, Boston 1992). G E Gorelik, V Y Frenkel. Matvei Petrovic Bronstein and the Soviet Theoretical Physics in the Thirties (Birkhauser Verlag, Boston 1994).    


2006  Lee Smolin. The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next  (Houghton Mifflin, 2006, 416 p.)



Probably the first PhD thesis ever written on the problem of quantum gravity was the 1935 dissertation of the Russian physicist Matvei Petrovich Bronstein. Those who recall him think of him as one of the two most brilliant Soviet physicists of his generation. He wrote in a 1936 paper that "the elimination of the logical inconsistencies [re­quires] rejection of our ordinary concepts of space and time, [replacing] them by some much deeper and nonevident concepts." Then he quoted a German proverb, "Let him who doubt it pay a Thaler." 3   Вronstein's view was championed by a brilliant young French physi­cist, Jacques Solomon.

By now almost everyone who thinks seriously about quantum gravity agrees with Bronstein, but it has taken seventy years. One reason is that even such brilliant minds as Bronstein and Solomon  could not escape the insanity of their time. A year after Bronstein wrote the paper I just quoted, he was arrested by the NKVD, and he was executed by a firing squad on February 18, 1938. Solomon became a member of the French Resistance and was killed by the Germans on May 23, 1942. Their ideas were lost to history. I have worked on the problem of quantum gravity all my life and I learned of them only while finishing this book.

The work of Bronstein was forgotten, and most physicists re­turned to the study of quantum field theory. As I described in chap­ter 4, it took until the late 1940s for QED to be developed. This suc­cess then inspired a few people to take up again the challenge of unifying gravity with quantum theory. Right away, two opposing camps sprang up. One of them followed Bronstein in taking the background independence of general relativity seriously. The other ignored background independence and followed Heisenberg and Pauli's route in their efforts to apply quantum theory to gravita­tional waves seen as moving on a fixed background.

3  M. P. Bronstein, "Quantization of gravitational waves," Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. 6 (1936), p. 195. For more information about Bronstein, see [John] Stachel in Conceptual Foundations [of Quantum Field Theory, Cambridge Uni­versity Press, 1999], and also G. Gorelik, "Matvei Bronstein and Quantum Gravity: 70th Anniversary of the Unsolved Problem," Physics-Uspekhi, 48:10 (2005).