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Paul Dirac -
Physics
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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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The only object of theoretical physics is to calculate results that can be compared with experiment...it is quite unnecessary that any satisfactory description of the whole course of the phenomena should be given.
Paul Dirac
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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.
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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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The present stage of physical theory is merely a step-pingstone towards the better stages that we will have in the future. One can be quite sure that there will be better stages simply because of the difficulties that occur in the physics of today.
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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Only questions about the results of experiments have a real significance and it is only such questions that theoretical physics has to consider.
Paul Dirac
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Some physicists may be happy to have a set of working rules leading to results in agreement with observation. They may think that this is the goal of physics. But it is not enough. One wants to understand how Nature works.
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The steady progress of physics requires for its theoretical formulations a mathematics that gets continually more advanced.
Paul Dirac
Quote of the day
There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I never want to finish second again.
Vince Lombardi
Paul Dirac
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Born:
August 8, 1902
Died:
October 20, 1984
(aged 82)
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