Science Library - free educational site

Paul Dirac

1902 - 1984

Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac is a leading figure in 20th century physics. His Dirac Equation describes fermions and predicted the existence of anti-matter, winning him a Nobel Prize in 1933.

  • Nationality
  • English

  • Subject
  • Physics, theoretical

  • Fields
  • Quantum Mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, general relativity

  • Distinctions
  • Nobel Prize (shared with Erwin Schrödinger), 1933, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory".

    Royal Medal (1939), Copley Medal (1952), Max Planck Medal (1952).

    J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize, 1969.

    Dirac turned down an offer of knighthood, but accepted the Order of Merit in 1973.

  • Posts
  • Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University.

  • Theories
  • Dirac described the most general theory of quantum mechanics.

    He discovered the relativistic equation for the electron.

    His equation predicts the later proven conjecture that every fermion has an antiparticle.

    He developed a quantum field theory, which is still used as the basis for the particle theory in use today.

    Magnetic monopole theory, providing a theoretical symmetry to Maxwell's electromagnetism equations.

    Dirac quantised the gravitational field, providing a basis for the subsequent gauge and superstring theories.

  • Equations
  • Dirac Equation, describing the behaviour of fermions and predicts the existence of anti-matter:

    ihγμδμψ - mcψ = 0

    In natural units (iδ - m)ψ = 0

Paul Dirac is known to have had a strange, painfully introverted, personality. Born to a Swiss father and English mother, he married Margit Wigner in 1937, and it is often said that science owes a great debt to Margit for sustaining Paul, ensuring that he could work in his own way, unencumbered by normal social conventions, which he found difficult.

Paul Dirac produced many of the theoretical bases for quantum field theory and gravity, which has led to the modern theories in particle physics, string theory and quantum mechanics.






Latest Item on Science Library:

The most recent article is:

Air Resistance and Terminal Velocity

View this item in the topic:

Mechanics

and many more articles in the subject:

Subject of the Week

Universe

'Universe' on ScienceLibrary.info covers astronomy, cosmology, and space exploration. Learn Science with ScienceLibrary.info.

Science

Great Scientists

Caroline Herschel

1750 - 1848

Caroline Herschel has traditionally been neglected by history, living in the shadow of her famous brother, William Herschel. But recent research has demonstrated that she made valuable contributions to science in her own right.

Caroline Herschel
Umwelt.Science

Quote of the day...

Growing old is compulsory. Growing up is optional.

ZumGuy Internet Promotions

English language school