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Paul Dirac -
Mathematical
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A good deal of my research work in physics has consisted in not setting out to solve some particular problems, but simply examining mathematical quantities of a kind that physicists use and trying to get them together in an interesting way regardless of any application that the work may have. It is simply a search for pretty mathematics. It may turn out later that the work does have an application. Then one has had good luck.
Paul Dirac
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Theoretical physicists accept the need for mathematical beauty as an act of faith...For example, the main reason why the theory of relativity is so universally accepted is its mathematical beauty.
Paul Dirac
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Just by studying mathematics we can hope to make a guess at the kind of mathematics that will come into the physics of the future. A good many people are working on the mathematical basis of quantum theory, trying to understand the theory better and to make it more powerful and more beautiful. If someone can hit on the right lines along which to make this development, it may lead to a future advance in which people will first discover the equations and then, after examining them, gradually learn how to apply them.
Paul Dirac
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A book on the new physics, if not purely descriptive of experimental work, must essentially be mathematical.
Paul Dirac
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I don't suppose that applies so much to other physicists; I think it's a peculiarity of myself that I like to play about with equations, just looking for beautiful mathematical relations which maybe don't have any physical meaning at all. Sometimes they do.
Paul Dirac
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What makes the theory of relativity so acceptable to physicists in spite of its going against the principle of simplicity is its great mathematical beauty. This is a quality which cannot be defined, any more than beauty in art can be defined, but which people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating.
Paul Dirac
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From now on there will be no physical treatise which is not primarily mathematical.
Paul Dirac
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The research worker, in his efforts to express the fundamental laws of Nature in mathematical form, should strive mainly for mathematical beauty. He should take simplicity into consideration in a subordinate way to beauty... It often happens that the requirements of simplicity and beauty are the same, but where they clash, the latter must take precedence.
Paul Dirac
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The underlying physical laws necessary for the mathematical theory of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry are thus completely known, and the difficulty is only that the exact application of these laws leads to equations much too complicated to be soluble. It therefore becomes desirable that approximate practical methods of applying quantum mechanics should be developed, which can lead to an explanation of the main features of complex atomic systems without too much computation.
Paul Dirac
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I want to emphasize the necessity for a sound mathematical basis for any fundamental physical theory. Any philosophical ideas that one may have play only a subordinate role. Unless such ideas have a mathematical basis they will be ineffective.
Paul Dirac
Quote of the day
If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.
John D. Rockefeller
Paul Dirac
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Born:
August 8, 1902
Died:
October 20, 1984
(aged 82)
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