nLab Paul Dirac

Selected writings

Early discussion of the foundations of quantum mechanics (including the possibly first consideration of what came to be known as the Slater determinant):

On a relativistic membrane model for the electron:

  • Paul Dirac, An Extensible Model of the Electron, Proc. Roy. Soc. A268, (1962) 57-67 (jstor:2414316)

  • Paul Dirac, The motion of an Extended Particle in the Gravitational Field, in Relativistic Theories of Gravitation, Proceedings of a Conference held in Warsaw and Jablonna, July 1962, ed. L. Infeld, P. W. N. Publishers, 1964, Warsaw, 163-171; discussion 171-175 (spire:1623740)

  • Paul Dirac, Particles of Finite Size in the Gravitational Field, Proc. Roy. Soc. A270, (1962) 354-356 (doi:10.1098/rspa.1962.0228)

On quantum mechanics (and some quantum field theory):


On mathematical physics:

One should keep the need for a sound mathematical basis dominating one’s search for a new theory. Any physical or philosophical ideas that one has must be adjusted to fit the mathematics. Not the way round.

Too many physicists are inclined to start from some preconceived physical ideas and then to try to develop them and find a mathematical scheme that incorporates them. Such a line of attack is unlikely to lead to success. One runs into difficulties and finds no reasonable way out of them. One ought then to realize that one’s whole line of approach is wrong and to seek a new starting point with a sound mathematical basis.

(Dirac 78)

category: people

Last revised on August 19, 2022 at 09:18:38. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.