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QED and the Men Who Made It : Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga - Silvan S. Schweber

QED and the Men Who Made It

Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga

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Published: 1st April 1994
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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.

"A remarkable and exciting book... Schweber brings to his efforts the tools of the professional historian ... and the tools of a professional physicist who has himself worked on QED, a field as highly technical and abstruse as it is important."--Science

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvi
Introduction xxi
The Birth of Quantum Field Theoryp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Pascual Jordanp. 5
P.A.M. Dirac and the Birth of Quantum Electrodynamicsp. 11
Jordan and the Quantization of Matter Wavesp. 33
Heisenberg and Pauli: The Quantum Theory of Wave Fieldsp. 39
Hole Theoryp. 56
Postscript: Dirac and Scientific Creativityp. 70
Fermi and the Regaining of Anschaulischkeitp. 72
Thep. 1930s
Introductionp. 76
QED during the 1930sp. 76
The Warsaw Conference of 1939p. 93
The Washington Conference of 1941p. 104
The Divergencesp. 108
The War and Its Aftermathp. 130
Introductionp. 130
The Community in 1941
3.3 The MIT Radiation Laboratoryp. 136
Training a New Generation of Physicists: Norman Krollp. 141
The Universities: 1945-1947p. 144
The Conferencesp. 146
Physics in 1946p. 152
Three Conferences: Shelter Island, Pocono, and Oldstonep. 156
Introductionp. 156
The Genesis of the Conferencesp. 157
The Scientific Content of the Conferencep. 179
The Later Developmentsp. 194
Conclusionp. 205
The Lamb Shift and the Magnetic Moment of the Electronp. 206
Introductionp. 206
The Experimental Situation during the 1930sp. 208
Willis Lambp. 212
The Anomalous Magnetic Moment of the Electronp. 219
The Magnetic Resonance Experimentsp. 223
Bethe's Calculationp. 228
Relativistic Lamb Shift Calculations: 1947-1948p. 232
The French and Weisskopf Calculationp. 237
Radiative Correction to Scatteringp. 245
Tomonaga and the Rebuilding of Japanese Physicsp. 248
Introductionp. 248
Theoretical Physics in Japanp. 249
Tomonagap. 252
The War Yearsp. 260
The Postwar Yearsp. 265
Julian Schwinger and the Formalization of Quantum Field Theoryp. 273
Introductionp. 273
The Young Schwingerp. 275
The War Yearsp. 293
Shelter Island and Its Aftermathp. 303
The APS Meeting and the Pocono Conferencep. 318
The Michigan Summer Schoolp. 335
The Charles L. Mayer Nature of Light Awardp. 340
Wentzel's and Pauli's Criticismp. 345
The Quantum Action Principlep. 352
Philosophical Outlookp. 355
Epiloguep. 367
Richard Feynman and the Visualization of Space-Time Processesp. 373
Backgroundp. 373
Undergraduate Days: MITp. 374
Graduate Days: Princetonp. 380
Ph.D. Dissertationp. 389
The War Yearsp. 397
Research, 1946p. 405
Shelter Island and Its Aftermathp. 411
The Genesis of the Theoryp. 414
Renormalizationp. 434
The Pocono Conference: March 30-April1,1948p. 436
Vacuum Polarizationp. 445
Evaluating Integralsp. 452
The January 1949 American Physical Society Meetingp. 454
Retrospectivep. 457
Style, Visualization, and All Thatp. 462
A Postscript: Schwinger and Feynmanp. 467
Freeman Dyson and the Structure of Quantum Field Theoryp. 474
Family Backgroundp. 474
Early Education: Twyford and Winchesterp. 476
Cambridgep. 1941-1943
Bomber Commandp. 488
Imperial College and Cambridge Universityp. 490
Cornell Universityp. 493
The Michigan Symposium, Summer 1948p. 502
Princeton: The Institute for Advanced Studyp. 505
The "Radiation Theories" Paperp. 508
The Institute for Advanced Study: Oppenheimerp. 518
The S-Matrix in QEDp. 527
The S-Matrix Paper: Retrospectivep. 544
The S-Matrix Paper: Aftermathp. 549
Oldstonep. 552
Return to Europep. 554
Heisenberg Operatorsp. 556
Divergence of Perturbative Seriesp. 564
Closurep. 566
Philosophyp. 567
Stylep. 569
Epiloguep. 571
A Postscript: Tomonaga, Schwinger, Feynman, and Dysonp. 572
QED in Switzerlandp. 576
Field Theory in Switzerland: Stueckelbergp. 576
Quantum Field Theory in Zurich: Pauli's Seminar, 1947-1950
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691033273
ISBN-10: 0691033277
Series: Princeton Series in Physics
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 768
Published: 1st April 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 15.65  x 4.04
Weight (kg): 1.05