Editorial Note with a mathematical and historical introduction to a 1932
    paper by Erwin Schr\”odinger on the generalization of the Dirac equation to a
    curved spacetime — to appear in the ‘Golden Oldie’ section of the Journal of
    General Relativity and Gravitation alongside an English translation of that
    paper. The Schr\”odinger paper is of interest as the first place that the
    well-known formula $g^{\mu\nu}\nabla_\mu\nabla_\nu + m^2 + \frac{R}{4}$ was
    obtained for the ‘square’ of the Dirac operator in curved spacetime. This
    formula is known by a number of names and we explain why we favour the name
    ‘Schr\”odinger-Lichnerowicz formula’. We also aim to explain how the modern
    notion of `spin connection’ emerged from a debate in the physics journals in
    the period 1929-1933. We discuss the key contributions of Weyl, Fock and Cartan
    and explain how and why they were partly in conflict with the approaches of
    Schr\”odinger and several other authors. We reference and comment on some
    previous historical accounts of this topic.

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