For the great theoretical physicist Paul Dirac FRS, the importance of mathematical beauty was 'like a religion'. Although his first papers on quantum mechanics showed an acute aesthetic awareness, he first set out his principle of mathematical beauty only in 1939, a decade after he did his best work. In this talk, Farmelo will discuss the origins of Dirac's aesthetic sensibility and take a look at the extraordinary personality of the physicist Niels Bohr once called 'the strangest man'.
Graham Farmelo is a Bye-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. His biography of Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man, won the 2009 Costa Biography Prize and the 2010 Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Science Book.