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, it was something that I dealt with quite a bit in my undergraduate physics career.

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