Hermann Minkowski, Space and Time. In: H. A. Lorentz, A. Einstein, H. Minkowski, and H. Weyl: The Principle of Relativity: A Collection of Original Memoirs on the Special and General Theory of Relativity (Dover, New York 1952), pp. 75-91; talk at the 80th Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians on September 21, 1908 (see electronic copy):

The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality. [p. 75]

Since the [relativity] postulate comes to mean that only the four-dimensional world in space and time is given by phenomena, but that the projection in space and in time may still be undertaken with a certain degree of freedom, I prefer to call it the postulate of the absolute world. [p. 83]

The whole universe is seen to resolve itself into similar world-lines, and I would fain anticipate myself by saying that in my opinion physical laws might find their most perfect expression as reciprocal relations between these world-lines. [p. 76]

Neither Einstein nor Lorentz made any attack on the concept of space [p.83]. We should then have in the world no longer space, but an infinite number of spaces, analogously as there are in three-dimensional space an infinite number of planes. Three-dimensional geometry becomes a chapter in four-dimensional physics. Now you know why I said at the outset that space and time are to fade away into shadows, and only a world in itself will subsist. [pp. 79-80]

Arthur S. Eddington, Space, Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1920), p. 56:

However successful the theory of a four dimensional world may be, it is difficult to ignore a voice inside us which whispers: "At the back of your mind, you know that a fourth dimension is all nonsense." I fancy that that voice must often have had a busy time in the past history of physics. What nonsense to say that this solid table on which I am writing is a collection of electrons moving with prodigious speeds in empty spaces, which relatively to electronic dimensions are as wide as the spaces between the planets in the solar system! What nonsense to say that the thin air is trying to crush my body with a load of 14 lbs. to the square inch! What nonsense that the star cluster which I see through the telescope obviously there now, is a glimpse into a past age 50,000 years ago! Let us not be beguiled by this voice. It is discredited.

V. Petkov, Relativity and the Nature of Spacetime (Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 2005); in the series "The Frontiers Collection".
At Springer-Verlag Website

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