QED and the Men who Made it: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga

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Princeton University Press, 1994 M04 24 - 732 páginas

In the 1930s, physics was in a crisis. There appeared to be no way to reconcile the new theory of quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of relativity. Several approaches had been tried and had failed. In the post-World War II period, four eminent physicists rose to the challenge and developed a calculable version of quantum electrodynamics (QED), probably the most successful theory in physics. This formulation of QED was pioneered by Freeman Dyson, Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, three of whom won the Nobel Prize for their work. In this book, physicist and historian Silvan Schweber tells the story of these four physicists, blending discussions of their scientific work with fascinating biographical sketches.

Setting the achievements of these four men in context, Schweber begins with an account of the early work done by physicists such as Dirac and Jordan, and describes the gathering of eminent theorists at Shelter Island in 1947, the meeting that heralded the new era of QED. The rest of his narrative comprises individual biographies of the four physicists, discussions of their major contributions, and the story of the scientific community in which they worked. Throughout, Schweber draws on his technical expertise to offer a lively and lucid explanation of how this theory was finally established as the appropriate way to describe the atomic and subatomic realms.

 

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1 The Birth of Quantum Field
1
Jordan 1 926 and in the Dreimannerarbeit Bor n et al
2
Actually Dirac found it more convenient to deal with the
26
in order that N 0 be canonical variables satisfying
27
One thus obtains
28
equation one obtains
61
2 The 193 Os
76
or
104
+ a Ftya charge conjugate 7554
333
interaction of the electronpositron field with both an external electromagnetic
344
8 Richard Feynman and the
373
J
377
The term Fvadv Fvret had been shown by Dirac
385
where
387
3 _L_L 4444 88
415
where Fvx is the field at x due to particle
416

if
111
2529
120
I oa e a e0
121
f
124
2546
126
The War and Its Aftermath
130
Shelter
156
The Lamb Shift and the Magnetic
206
V rat
232
1
232
v
232
W vacuum vacuum joo
238
5819
240
6Tomonasa and the Rebuilding
248
TJulian Schwinger and the
273
r+iM
305
AtZm jSfr 7416
306
In terms of the b operators
315
Since Hit is the sum of the Hamiltonian densities at
324
1
326
ir
418
The amplitude for the positron arriving at 3 is
429
Freeman Dyson and the Structure
474
can be written as
513
The Lagrangian density from which the equations of motion of
530
MO oc Sup yap _k_m + ie y v _A
534
F IF + IB m n +
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Vertex part
539
10 QED in Switzerland
576
if by
581
Some Reflections
595
NOTES
606
Eq n61 is precisely the result one would obtain if
608
by Pais as a way to make the electrons selfenergy
615
116 J Schwinger oral interview with S S Schweber January
647
BIBLIOGRAPHY
672
204212
690
Serpe J 1940 Sur le problenic de la largeur
714
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Silvan S. Schweber is Professor of Physics and Richard Koret Professor of the History of Ideas at Brandeis University. He is also an associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University.

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