Beauty in physics: the legacy of Paul Dirac

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Abstract:

In 2002 physicists around the world celebrated the centenary of the birth of Paul Dirac, OM, FRS, Nobel Laureate, who was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. He made towering contributions to the formulation of quantum mechanics and he was one of the principal creators of quantum field theory. In 1928 he combined relativity and quantum mechanics in the Dirac equation, which provides a natural description for the spin of the electron and which led to the prediction, by Dirac himself, of the existence of anti-matter. In this article I try to explain, in the simplest terms, these major contributions to physics and to give some flavour of the man himself.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00107510410001676812

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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