fredag den 12. marts 2010

Paul Dirac and the religion of mathematical beauty

I am happy to be able to invite you to another event in our history of science seminar series. Farmelo's talk will be based on his extensive research for his book, The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius, published last year by Faber and Faber, London, which recently received the prestigious Costa Book Award for the best biography published in the U.K. and Ireland in 2009. I look forward to seeing you there.
Finn Aaserud, Director
History of Science Seminar
Thu 8 April 2010, 14.15
Aud. A, Niels Bohr Institute
Blegdamsvej 17, Copenhagen

Graham Farmelo
Senior Research Fellow, Science Museum, London
Adjunct Professor of Physics, Northeastern University, Boston
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, I shall examine the basis of this belief, together with its successes and failures.