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Paul Dirac and the religion of mathematical beauty


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13:00 - 14:00


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


   Speaker: Graham Farmelo

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.

Paul Dirac and the religion of mathematical beauty The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK