# Paul Dirac

**DiracPaul Adrien Maurice DiracP. A. M. DiracP.A.M. DiracPaul A. M. DiracPaul A.M. DiracDirac, PaulDirac, Paul Adrien MauriceDirac’sP. Dirac**

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century.wikipedia

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### Dirac equation

**Dirac particleDiracDirac mass**

Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter.

In particle physics, the Dirac equation is a relativistic wave equation derived by British physicist Paul Dirac in 1928.

### Quantum electrodynamics

**QEDquantum electrodynamicelectromagnetic**

Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

The first formulation of a quantum theory describing radiation and matter interaction is attributed to British scientist Paul Dirac, who (during the 1920s) was able to compute the coefficient of spontaneous emission of an atom.

### Florida State University

**Florida StateFlorida State College for WomenFSU**

He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami, and spent the last decade of his life at Florida State University.

On and around the Florida State University campus are seven libraries; Dirac Science Library named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Florida State University professor Paul Dirac, Strozier Library, Maguire Medical Library, Law Library, Engineering Library, Allen Music Library and the Goldstein information library.

### Antimatter

**anti-matterantiheliumanti**

Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter.

The modern theory of antimatter began in 1928, with a paper by Paul Dirac.

### St John's College, Cambridge

**St. John's College, CambridgeSt John's CollegeSt. John's College**

Shortly before he completed his degree in 1921, he sat for the entrance examination for St John's College, Cambridge.

The college's alumni comprise the winners of 11 Nobel Prizes (including physicists Paul Dirac and Max Born, the latter having been affiliated with the college in the 1930's), seven prime ministers and 12 archbishops of various countries, at least two princes and three Saints.

### University of Bristol

**Bristol UniversityBristoluniversity**

The school was an institution attached to the University of Bristol, which shared grounds and staff.

The university has been associated with 13 Nobel laureates throughout its history, including Paul Dirac, Sir William Ramsay, Cecil Frank Powell, Sir Winston Churchill, Dorothy Hodgkin, Hans Albrecht Bethe, Max Delbrück, Gerhard Herzberg, Sir Nevill Francis Mott, Sir Paul Nurse, Harold Pinter, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio and most recently, 2015 Economics Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton.

### Erwin Schrödinger

**SchrödingerErwin SchroedingerErwin Schrodinger**

Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory".

Soon after he arrived, he received the Nobel Prize together with Paul Dirac.

### Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

**Lucasian ProfessorLucasian Chair of MathematicsLucasian Chair**

He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami, and spent the last decade of his life at Florida State University.

It was described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world and its former holders include Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, George Stokes, Joseph Larmor, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking.

### Fermion

**fermionsFermionichalf-integer spin**

Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter.

The name fermion was coined by English theoretical physicist Paul Dirac from the surname of Italian physicist Enrico Fermi.

### Graham Farmelo

"Both still in their twenties, and unmarried, they made an odd couple. Heisenberg was a ladies' man who constantly flirted and danced, while Dirac—'an Edwardian geek', as biographer Graham Farmelo puts it—suffered agonies if forced into any kind of socialising or small talk. 'Why do you dance?' Dirac asked his companion. 'When there are nice girls, it is a pleasure,' Heisenberg replied. Dirac pondered this notion, then blurted out: 'But, Heisenberg, how do you know beforehand that the girls are nice?

Graham Paul Farmelo (born 18 May 1953) is a biographer and science writer, a Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, U.K., and an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Northeastern University, Boston, U.S.A. He is best known for his work on science communication and as the author of The Strangest Man, a prize-winning biography of the theoretical physicist Paul Dirac.

### Quantum mechanics

**quantum physicsquantum mechanicalquantum theory**

Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. There, Dirac pursued his interests in the theory of general relativity, an interest he had gained earlier as a student in Bristol, and in the nascent field of quantum physics, under the supervision of Ralph Fowler.

The foundations of quantum mechanics were established during the first half of the 20th century by Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, John von Neumann, Paul Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Wolfgang Pauli, Max von Laue, Freeman Dyson, David Hilbert, Wilhelm Wien, Satyendra Nath Bose, Arnold Sommerfeld, and.

### Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami

He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami, and spent the last decade of his life at Florida State University.

Among others, the long term resident members of the Center included Paul Dirac (1969–1972) and Lars Onsager (1972–1976), while the affiliated faculty included Physics Professors Arnold Perlmutter and Kursunoglu.

### Eugene Wigner

**Eugene Paul WignerWignerEugene P. Wigner**

in 1937 Dirac married Margit Wigner (Eugene Wigner's sister).

He had an older sister, Bertha, known as Biri, and a younger sister Margit, known as Manci, who later married British theoretical physicist Paul Dirac.

### Bishopston, Bristol

**Bishopston**

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born at his parents' home in Bristol, England, on 8 August 1902, and grew up in the Bishopston area of the city.

In 1933 Paul Dirac, who attended the Bishop Road Primary School, just a few hundred metres from where he lived on Monk Road, won the prize after his contributions to quantum mechanics.

### J. Robert Oppenheimer

**Robert OppenheimerOppenheimerRobert J. Oppenheimer**

He criticised the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer's interest in poetry: "The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible."

Oppenheimer made friends who went on to great success, including Werner Heisenberg, Pascual Jordan, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller.

### Ralph H. Fowler

**Ralph FowlerRalph Howard FowlerR.H. Fowler**

There, Dirac pursued his interests in the theory of general relativity, an interest he had gained earlier as a student in Bristol, and in the nascent field of quantum physics, under the supervision of Ralph Fowler.

He became research supervisor to Paul Dirac and, in 1926, worked with him on the statistical mechanics of white dwarf stars.

### Werner Heisenberg

**HeisenbergW. HeisenbergHeisenberg, Werner**

An anecdote recounted in a review of the 2009 biography tells of Werner Heisenberg and Dirac sailing on an ocean liner to a conference in Japan in August 1929.

In 1928, the British mathematical physicist Paul Dirac had derived his relativistic wave equation of quantum mechanics, which implied the existence of positive electrons, later to be named positrons.

### 1851 Research Fellowship

**1851 Exhibition Scholarship1851 Exhibition Science Scholarship1851 Exhibition Memorial Scholarship**

From 1925 to 1928 he held an 1851 Research Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.

### University of Cambridge

**Cambridge UniversityCambridgeUniversity**

Astronomers Sir John Herschel, Sir Arthur Eddington, Paul Dirac, the discoverer of antimatter and one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics; Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and the university's long-serving Lucasian Professor of Mathematics until 2009; and Lord Martin Rees, the current Astronomer Royal and former Master of Trinity College.

### J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize

**Oppenheimer Prize**

He received the inaugural J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize in 1969.

### Magnetic monopole

**magnetic monopolesmagnetic chargemonopole**

He proposed and investigated the concept of a magnetic monopole, an object not yet known empirically, as a means of bringing even greater symmetry to James Clerk Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism.

The quantum theory of magnetic charge started with a paper by the physicist Paul Dirac in 1931.

### Mathematical beauty

**mathematical eleganceelegantAesthetics**

It seems to be one of the fundamental features of nature that fundamental physical laws are described in terms of a mathematical theory of great beauty and power, needing quite a high standard of mathematics for one to understand it.

The aesthetic pleasure that mathematical physicists tend to experience in Einstein's theory of general relativity has been attributed (by Paul Dirac, among others) to its "great mathematical beauty".

### Paul Ehrenfest

**EhrenfestPaulEhrenfest colloquium**

In a 1926 letter to Paul Ehrenfest, Albert Einstein wrote of Dirac, "This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful."

Other young foreign scientists who spent an extended period in his laboratory included Gunnar Nordström, Enrico Fermi, Igor Tamm, Oskar Klein, Robert Oppenheimer, Walter Elsasser, Ralph Kronig, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, and David Dennison.

### Matrix mechanics

**matrix formulationmatrix theoryHeisenberg representation**

Heisenberg leaned heavily on Bohr's correspondence principle but changed the equations so that they involved directly observable quantities, leading to the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics.

It is equivalent to the Schrödinger wave formulation of quantum mechanics, as manifest in Dirac's bra–ket notation.

### Canonical quantization

**field operatorcanonicalfield operators**

Dirac's formulation allowed him to obtain the quantisation rules in a novel and more illuminating manner.

Historically, this was not quite Werner Heisenberg's route to obtaining quantum mechanics, but Paul Dirac introduced it in his 1926 doctoral thesis, the "method of classical analogy" for quantization, and detailed it in his classic text.