The Strangest Man
April 28, 2012 2:51 AM Subscribe
The trend of mathematics and physics towards unification provides the physicist with a powerful new method of research into the foundations of his subject, a method which has not yet been applied successfully, but which I feel confident will prove its value in the future. The method is to begin by choosing that branch of mathematics which one thinks will form the basis of the new theory. One should be influenced very much in this choice by considerations of mathematical beauty.
The physicist Paul Dirac
had a passion for mathematical beauty. The talk quoted above, The Relation between Mathematics and Physics
, was given in 1939 and is available as part of the material posted from the Dirac Centennial Celebration
at the University of Cambridge in 2002. More about his life is available in the (long) transcripts of his oral history interviews
with the American Insitute of Physics.
Via Graham Farmelo
, author of The Strangest Man
, a biography of Dirac.