Niels Bohr Archive History of Science Seminar – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Niels Bohr Archive History of Science Seminar

Graham Farmelo:

Paul Dirac and the religion of mathematical beauty

Paul Dirac was the greatest English theoretical physicist since Newton.
Dirac is famous for co-discovering quantum mechanics, for his beautiful
equation for the behaviour of the electron and for predicting the
existence of antimatter. Although sceptical of philosophy and religion,
in later life Dirac became an apostle for the great importance of
mathematical beauty in fundamental physics. It was 'like a religion'
for him.

In this talk, the basis of this belief, together with its successes
and failures will be examined.