Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Happy 110th birthday Paul Dirac

Happy 110th birthday Paul Dirac! He is one of the icons of modern physics and is perhaps best known for developing Dirac equation, a relativistic wave equation to describe the spin and magnetic properties of the electron, the foundation for modern condensed matter physics... The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933 was awarded jointly to Erwin Schrödinger and Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory" this is a great summary of Diracss legendary work and contribution in our understanding of universe: this is the link to Nobel Prize website: ... and this is a famous quote by Dirac: "The fundamental laws necessary for the mathematical treatment of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry are thus completely known, and the difficulty lies only in the fact that application of these laws leads to equations that are too complex to be solved."
A great biography book (THE STRANGEST MAN: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom. Basic Books, 2009) written by Graham Farmelo in 2009 is reviewed here: "In The Strangest Man, Graham Farmelo offers a highly readable and sympathetic biography of the taciturn British physicist who can be said, with little exaggeration, to have invented modern theoretical physics. The book is a real achievement, alternately gripping and illuminating, and the few flaws in the biographical integration are often due to the recalcitrance of the subject himself.
It would have been far easier to tackle only the physics, and surely that would have been enough. Dirac’s life spanned most of the 20th century, and he was at the core of its decisive scientific revolution: quantum mechanics. “At the core” is an understatement. As Farmelo sagaciously puts it,"In his heyday, between 1925 and 1933, he brought a uniquely clear vision to the development of a new branch of science: the book of nature often seemed to be open in front of him.""
 This is also the link to an interview with Graham Farmelo on NPR: "In a new biography, Graham Farmelo digs deep into the archives and personal papers of a little-known Nobel-winning physicist. Farmelo discusses The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom and his theory that Dirac may have been autistic."

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