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Download Dirac: A Scientific Biography: A Scientific Biography ePub

by Helge Kragh

Download Dirac: A Scientific Biography: A Scientific Biography ePub
  • ISBN 0521017564
  • ISBN13 978-0521017565
  • Language English
  • Author Helge Kragh
  • Publisher Cambridge University Press (July 21, 2005)
  • Pages 400
  • Formats lit docx mobi rtf
  • Category Math
  • Subcategory Physics
  • Size ePub 1568 kb
  • Size Fb2 1700 kb
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Votes: 205

This first full-length biography of Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac offers a comprehensive account of his physics in its historical context, including less known areas such as cosmology and classical electron theory. It is based extensively on unpublished sources, including Dirac's correspondence with Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Schrödinger, Gamow and others. Dirac was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and influential physicists of the twentieth century. Between 1925 and 1934, the Nobel Prize laureate revolutionized physics with his brilliant contributions to quantum theory. This work examines Dirac's successes and failures, and pays particular attention to his opposition to modern quantum electrodynamics; an opposition based on aesthetic objections.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. book is indeed a 'scientific biography'.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. The project was started in 2005 and finished in 2017 with the publication of the German book: Lichtquanten and in 2018 with its English version: Photons: The History and Mental Models of Light Qu anta (Springer).

Dirac: A Scientific Biography . This book also includes Dirac's most important and interesting interactions with other great physicists and also contains insightful information on his philosophical outlook, his pastimes, and his unique personality. It also includes an excellent selection of photos and even some This is by far the best biography that I have encountered on Dirac, a brilliant and very original physicist.

Helge Kragh: 2019 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics Recipient, "For influential contributions to the history of physics, especially analyses of cosmological theories and debates, the history of the quantum physics of elementary particles and the solid state, and biographical studies of Paul Dirac and Niels Bohr, and his early quantum atom. I remain convinced that one of its goals, as " scientific biography," remains unfulfilled. Compare Kragh to the excellent scientific biography by Abraham Pais: Albert Einstein, Subtle Is The Lord.

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The author examines Dirac's successes and failures, and pays particular attention to Dirac's opposition to modern quantum electrodynamics - an opposition based on aesthetic objections

It is based extensively on unpublished sources, including Dirac's correspondence with Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Schrödinger, Gamow and others. Dirac was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and influential physicists of the twentieth century. Between 1925 and 1934, the Nobel Prize laureate revolutionized physics with his brilliant contributions to quantum theory.

Dirac– a scientific biography. Cambridge University Press 1990, 2005, ISBN 0521017564. Quantum Generations – a history of physics in the 20. Century. Princeton University Press, 1999. An introduction to the historiography of Science. Cambridge University Press, 1987. Matter and Spirit in the Universe – scientific and religious preludes to modern cosmology.

A Scientific Biography. A Scientific Biography. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1990. Message Subject (Your Name) has forwarded a page to you from Science. Message Body (Your Name) thought you would like to see this page from the Science web site. Your Personal Message.

The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is a scholarly reference work that was published from 1970 through 1980. It is supplemented by the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Both these publications are comprised in an electronic version, called the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography

Talk about Dirac: A Scientific Biography: A Scientific Biography

This is the best biography of Dirac that I have encountered. It concisely describes Dirac's many contributions to physics, his philosophical outlook, and aspects of his interesting and unique personality. This book also contains an excellent selection of photographs.
Dirac (1902-1984) shared with Schroedinger the 1933 Nobel prize for Physics "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory" (as stated by the Nobel prize committee). He is one of the great 20-th century physicists and founders of quantum mechanics. His scientific contributions are discussed in good depth by Kragh while the aspects concerned with his personal life are mentioned on a more superficial level. Dirac's scientific life lasted for over half a century: after the mandatory retirement from the University of Cambridge (where he was the holder of the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics until 1969) he moved to the United States where he spent the last years of his life working at the University of Miami and Florida State University.
An analysis of Dirac's approach to theoretical physics is discussed in the last part of the book: he was convinced that physics should be based on beautiful theories. This viewpoint, however, has been criticized by other physicists because some times a beautiful theory is not necessarily useful or in agreement with experiments. It appears reasonable to say, however, that mathematical beauty represents a good guide in the discovery of novel equations such as the relativistic equation that Dirac discovered in 1928.
Dirac wrote the influential book The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (the 4-th edition appeared in 1958 and from then onward it has been reprinted many times) which is still an important text for those wishing to enter into the strange world of quantum mechanics. A book that well complements Kragh's biography is The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Farmelo.
These are different and partially complementary biographies of the great English physicist Paul Dirac. Kragh's biography is definitely, as the title states, a scientific biography. While the book contains all the basic biographical information, Kragh focuses on the development and significance of Dirac's scientific work. This is a very technical account which is really only readable by those with a pretty sophisticated knowledge of the relevant physics. While undoubtedly accurate, Kragh's book is not useful for general readers, even those with some general knowledge of the topic. This is a pity because Kragh has shown in other books that he is quite good at describing complex topics in lay terms.

Farmelo's book is a more conventional and chronologically arranged biography concentrating on Dirac as a person. Farmelo is a theoretical physicist who later became involved in science education and does a reasonable job of explaining the basics of Dirac's work. I would have preferred significantly more emphasis on the science and its background but these aspects of Farmelo's biography are certainly adequate. Farmelo shines with his narrative of Dirac's life and career, particularly his rather unusual personality. Farmelo is also very good on the academic and intellectual environment around Dirac, both his home institution, Cambridge, and the international community of physicists of which Dirac was a very important member.

Farmelo's well written book has become somewhat well known for Farmelo's well supported proposal that Dirac had a mild form of autism. Farmelo suggests also that aspects of Dirac's autism, notably his obsessive behavior (though Farmelo does not use that term specifically) contributed to Dirac's success as a theoretician. This is a reasonable suggestion. Both Kragh and Farmelo have very good and somewhat complementary discussions of Dirac's conviction that mathematical beauty should play an important role in the development of theories.

The ideal biography of Dirac would include the type of human detail and narrative found in Farmelo's biography and at least some of the more detailed scientific explanation found in Kragh's book. A better framing of Dirac's work in the context of the marked changes in 20th century physics in which he participated would be welcome. If you want to read one book about Dirac or if you're a non-physicist, read Farmelo. If you have the suitable background in physics, read both.
Tyler Is Not Here
This book is a very in depth scientific biography of the famous theoretical physicist. Since it is a scientific biography it is heavy on the physics and prepare yourself to see a lot of equations. Also prepare to not see explanation of notation. All in all this is probably not a great biography for the layman and even the physicist who reads it will hopefully know a bit of QED since a lot of his career revolved around that subject.

The book may not be to blame for not being a great read. This is simply because Dirac did not especially do much in his life but physics. Therefore, in the book there is little connect to more familiar pieces of history. Contrast this with the life of Einstein or any of the German physicists of the time period.

My favorite parts of the book were the anecdotes of Dirac's bizarre, reclusive, and ultra-logical personality. For instance, someone once called him up and invited him to an event. Dirac said he would think about it and then put the phone down on the table, not hanging it up. After thinking for a minute, he picked it up again and gave his answer. Many more humorous examples were in the book.
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