Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Richard Feynman

In the early days of quantum electrodynamics (QED) in the 1920s and 1930s, calculations were notoriously convoluted, the algebra often spilling over seven and eight lines just to calculate a single quantity. Worse, these nasty calculations almost always returned infinity, even when physicists asked straightforward questions. After the war, a new crop of young theoretical physicists, including Feynman, returned to QED and its problems. He decided first to try to take charge of the algebraic morass, streamlining the laborious algebraic manipulations, before worrying about the mysteries of the infinities. And so he began his doodlings in the late 1940s. --David Kaiser, Richard Feynman's Diagrams, interview by Felice Frankel, American Scientist, September-October 2003

On this author:

Review by Kelley L. Ross, of Richard Feynman, A Life in Science, by John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin (1997), at The Proceedings of the Friesian School, Fourth Series

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