Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was one of the founders of quantum theory. He is numbered alongside Newton, Maxwell and Einstein as one of the greatest physicists of all time. Together the lectures in this volume, originally presented on the occasion of the dedication ceremony for a plaque commemorating Dirac in Westminster Abbey, give a unique insight into the relationship between Dirac's character and his scientific achievements. The text begins with the dedication address given by Stephen Hawking at the ceremony. Then Abraham Pais describes Dirac as a person and his approach to his work. Maurice Jacob explains how Dirac was led to introduce the concept of antimatter, and its central role in modern particle physics and cosmology, followed by an account by David Olive of the origin and enduring influence of Dirac's work on magnetic monopoles. Finally, Sir Michael Atiyah explains the deep and widespread significance of the Dirac equation in mathematics.
• Internationally respected authors • Accessible insight into Dirac's life and work • Dirac memorial address by Stephen Hawking
Preface Peter Goddard; Dirac memorial address Stephen Hawking; 1. Paul Dirac: aspects of his life and work Abraham Pais; 2. Antimatter Maurice Jacob; 3. The monopole David Olive; 4. The Dirac equation and geometry Michael F. Atiyah.
'Paul Dirac is an enigma. Unquestionably the greatest British theoretical physicist of this century … This is a beautiful little book, a pleasure to read and an excellent memorial to a truly extraordinary physicist.' European Journal of Physics
'This is altogether a small gem of a book, which packs in a great deal of information, anecdote and learning.' Ian Aitchison, Nature
'… attractively produced. The quality of the writing is good and the strength and depth of Dirac's influence on fundamental physical theories shines through. Goddard is to be congratulated for ensuring that the occasion of Dirac's commemoration in Westminster Abbey did not go unrecorded.' June Barrow-Green, Mathematics Today
' … the volume is attractively produced. The quality of the writing is good and the strength and depth of Dirac's influence on fundamental physical theories shines through.' Mathematics Today
' … this collection succeeds admirably in capturing the unique scope of Dirac's physics and in giving some insight into Dirac the man.' The Times Higher Education Supplement