12473 Levi-Civita

This minor planet is named after Tullio Levi-Civita (1873 – 1941), an Italian mathematician who is known for his contributions to tensor calculus. He was a contemporary of Albert Einstein, and his work with tensor calculus was important to general relativity.

The symbol of this minor planet is, aptly, a representation of the so-called Levi-Civita symbol: a Greek lowercase epsilon, attached to a lowercase subscript dotted Latin letter i. It is a mathematical object that in differential geometry is referred to as a tensor density, and has properties that enforce antisymmetric permutations. It is what allows, for example, determinants and cross products to be represented in index notation. As such, I consider this symbol an old friend from my undergraduate physics career.

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