Tuesday, February 10, 2009


...is now out. Tom Feilden holds forth on it
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

This sentiment, from John Keats "Ode on a Grecian Urn", is one that many physicists would share - which is ironic considering that Keats regarded science (and particularly physics) as a destructive force, unweaving the rainbow of God's creation.

And yet an appreciation of beauty is central to Paul Dirac's understanding of the material world. Often referred to as the British Einstein, Dirac was one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, linking relativity and quantum mechanics for the first time and predicting the existence of antimatter.

Who? That's Paul Dirac: who alongside Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrodinger opened up the field of quantum physics, and in 1933 became the youngest theoretician to win the Nobel prize at the age of 31.
I remember telling an introvert friend that Paul Dirac is the unlikeliest person I have heard of who had a happy family life with children. If Dirac could do this, any one of us could.



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