Banesh Hoffmann was born in Richmond, United Kingdom on September 6, 1906. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Oxford, where he earned his BA and went on to earn his PhD at Princeton University.
While at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Hoffmann collaborated with Einstein and Leopold Infeld on the classic paper Gravitational Equations and the Problem of Motion. Einstein’s original work on general relativity was based on two ideas. The first was the equation of motion: a particle would follow the shortest path in four-dimensional space-time. The second was how matter affects the geometry of space-time. What Einstein, Infeld, and Hoffmann showed was that the equation of motion followed directly from the field equation that defined the geometry.
In 1937 Hoffmann joined the math department of Queens College, part of the City University of New York where he remained till the late 1970s. He had officially retired in the 1960s but continued to teach one course a semester; in the fall a course on quantum mechanics and in the spring one on the Special and General theories of Relativity.
Hoffmann became Einstein’s biographer in 1972 when he co-authored Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel with Einstein's secretary Helen Dukas. The pair collaborated again in compiling Albert Einstein: The Human Side, a collection of quotations from Einstein's letters and other personal papers.
Hoffmann was also the author of The Strange Story of the Quantum, The Tyranny of Testing, and Relativity and Its Roots. He was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars and wrote the short story, Sherlock, Shakespeare, and the Bomb.