The Strangest Man is the Costa Biography Award-winning account of Paul Dirac, the famous physicist sometimes called the British Einstein. He was one of the. In The Strangest Man, Graham Farmelo tries to get under the skin of one Paul Dirac: The man who conjured laws of nature from pure thought. “The purest soul” is a quotation about Dirac from Niels Bohr, as is Graham Farmelo’s title. (“Dirac is the strangest man,” Bohr said, “who ever.

Author: Tygozilkree Arashigis
Country: Bhutan
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Marketing
Published (Last): 20 July 2005
Pages: 165
PDF File Size: 12.51 Mb
ePub File Size: 1.17 Mb
ISBN: 181-9-92780-312-7
Downloads: 93422
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Kagahn

Dennis Sciama, Stephen Hawking’s supervisor, was supervised by Dirac. Shantanu, Yes, the book does discuss a bit his contributions to GR. So, what was it that motivated you to write this book and gave you the courage to dive into the deep end of the Dirac pool and spend so much time there?

I knew about Dirac since student days, but since physics wasn’t my subject and the quantum stuff way beyond me, I never bothered with finding out about him beyond the basics.

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom by Graham Farmelo

Within just a few decades, positrons changed in the eyes of scientists from appearing outlandish novelties to being just another type of subatomic quantum. I realise that stuff is over the heads of most bio readers including mebut I think it might be appropriate for scientific biographers to think about including such material in an appendix especially when they are trained and capable as Farmelo is. Dirac first posited they were protons but this was disproven. D R Lunsford says: Among other things, he predicted the existence of antimatter, discovered the magnetic monopole solutions and his work was used as some of the basis for string theory.

Physicist Paul Dirac Is ‘The Strangest Man’

He is known for developing quantum field theory, quantum electrodynamics and the understanding the role of magnetic monopoles in electromagnetism. But really, think about it. The author does an exceptional job of trying to capture what Dirac was all about — a very difficult thing to accomplish given Dirac’s lack of responsiveness.

It was [a] great, sort of, disappointment. It’s a biography, written for a general audience.

I got to tell you it reads like a novel. I was working – this summer, I was the director of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

Only their interactions mattered. It is worth mentioning that the only time they saw him crying was when he knew of Albert Einstein’s death, not because he had lost a friend but because science had lost a invaluable scientist.

It also enlightened me as to the period of time in which Paul Dirac worked and to the living conditions of England and Cambridge and of great theoretical physicists of the period. Then there is Dirac the scientist. In he became the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. When one embarks on a biography, one has to be prepared to spend years with this person. I mean, Heisenberg would actually – one of his colleagues in quantum physics would actually lie and say that he’s nowhere to be seen, whereas Dirac was actually sitting behind the photographers, right?

And if you’re not inclined in that direction, this book is the one you want.

In a field that is historically dense with collaborations and exchanges of findings and methods, Dirac was an extreme outlier, as someone who rarely talked at all, infamous for one word responses even in conversations with colleagues about scientific matters.

It is easy to imagine Dirac at one of these evening balls, sitting at a table and gazing quizzically at Heisenberg as he jived on the dance floor.

As it become harder and harder to get experimental data relevant to the questions etrangest want to answer, the guiding principle of pursuing mathematical beauty becomes more important. And as is sirac in biographies of scientists, the personal story provides respite from sections of challenging science. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs.

Paul Dirac: “The Strangest Man” of Science, Part 2 – Scientific American

At age 31 inPaul Dirac won the Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, the mah of Dirac’s formative years at Cambridge as a graduate student also his most productive ones when he laid the cornerstone of Quantum Thw along with Born, Schrodinger, Pascal, Heisenberg and Pauli was a motivating read specially for young grad students like me. Not the string theory of today, but it does seem to foreshadow the idea. And when I saw it I realized this was a treasure, a total treasure. I shall be able to live happily with you even if I have no more success in my work.

And it is a speculation. This is where he really did have empathy, you see. You just have to follow Farmelo’s lead. A misguided concept of beauty held progress back for years. A tweet from Steve DH ph. The combination of a controlling father and a clinging mother put Paul in a kind of vice, no doubt partially responsible for his odd personality.

Biography is surely supposed to be factual. And Graham, you talk about how Dirac just was like a humorless guy, speaking in monosyllables, a couple of syllables at a time.

This insight, gained from a former neighbour and colleague of Dirac’s in Florida, shows us both an important human impact made on this man’s life, as well as the author’s research quality, seeking out and perhaps even going to the USA to interview this person. I recommend it highly! His project was to set out those great laws of stragest, just exactly the same as Einstein wanted to do.

These items are shipped from and sold by different sellers. This apparently unfeeling, probably autistic tye somehow learns to become politically opinionated, and even warmly responsive, at least to a few friends. He had internalized a world view probably best characterized by John Stuart Mill, of a practical, evolutionary science, cumulative and refined by comparison with observation, subsuming prior accomplishments, but seeking ever wider applicability.