This early work by David Hilbert was originally published in the early 20th century and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. David Hilbert was born on the 23rd January 1862, in a Province of Prussia. Hilbert is recognised as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He discovered and developed a broad range of fundamental ideas in many areas, including invariant theory and the axiomatization of geometry. He also formulated the theory of Hilbert spaces, one of the foundations of functional analysis.