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Paul Dirac and the Religion of Mathematical Beauty

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followed by a wine reception FREE for members 2 pounds for non-members

Paul Dirac, sometimes called ‘the first truly modern theoretical physicist’, was obsessed by mathematical beauty. He believed that our fundamental understanding of the universe advanced by theories of successively greater aesthetical appeal, an idea he enshrined in his principle of mathematical beauty, which he regarded as being ‘like a religion’. In this talk, Graham Farmelo looks at the early origins of Dirac’s obsession with beauty, and the progress he made in turning it into a useful concept in physics. Graham shall also examine the singular personality of ‘the strangest man’, as Bohr called him.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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