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Concept# Paul Dirac

Summary

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (dɪˈræk; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is considered to be one of the founders of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a professor of physics at Florida State University and the University of Miami, and a 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient.
Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory". He also made significant contributions to the reconciliation of general relativity with quantum mechanics.
Dirac was regarded by his friends and colleagues as unusual in character. In a 1926 letter to Paul Ehrenfest, Albert Einstein wrote of a Dirac paper, "I am toiling over Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful." In another letter concerning the Compton effect he wrote, "I don't understand the details of Dirac at all."
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born at his parents' home in Bristol, England, on 8 August 1902, and grew up in the Bishopston area of the city. His father, Charles Adrien Ladislas Dirac, was an immigrant from Saint-Maurice, Switzerland, who worked in Bristol as a French teacher. His mother, Florence Hannah Dirac, née Holten, was born to a Cornish Methodist family in Liskeard, Cornwall. She was named after Florence Nightingale by her father, a ship's captain, who had met Nightingale while he was a soldier during the Crimean war. His mother moved to Bristol as a young woman, where she worked as a librarian at the Bristol Central Library; despite this she still considered her identity to be Cornish rather than English.

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Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (dɪˈræk; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is considered to be one of the founders of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a professor of physics at Florida State University and the University of Miami, and a 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient. Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

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