1972. Schwinger, Julian (1918-94). A report on quantum electrodynamics. Autograph manuscript. 31ff., on yellow lined pad. N.p., n.d. [1972.] 294 x 218 mm. Small rust stains on first leaf, but fine otherwise. "Julian Schwinger" written in the hand of physics historian Jagdish Mehra (1931-2002) on the first sheet, a few editorial marks probably by Mehra throughout. Schwinger was one of the architects of modern quantum electrodynamics, receiving a share of the 1965 Nobel Prize in physics (together with Richard Feynman and Shin'ichiro Tomonaga) for his contribution to QED theory. QED, a synthesis of quantum field theory and special relativity, originated in the 1920s with the work of Heisenberg, Dirac, Pauli and other physicists as a means of describing the behavior of subatomic particles; by the 1940s, however, experimental anomalies and inherent mathematical errors were eroding faith in its validity. Schwinger helped to restore confidence in the theory by developing a method called "mathematical renormalization" to calculate the proper masses and charges of subatomic particles. "[Schwinger's] aim was to determine to what extent quantum electrodynamics could account for the observed deviations from the Dirac theory when the requirements of relativistic invariance and gauge invariance were rigidly enforced and the ideas of mass and charge renormalization were incorporated into the existing formalism. His efforts culminated in the acceptance of quantum field theory as the proper representation of microscopic phenomena, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for this achievement" (Schweber, QED and the Men Who Made It, p. 274). Schwinger presented his "Report on Quantum Electrodynamics" at the symposium on "The Development of the Physicist's Conception of Nature in the Twentieth Century," held in 1972 in honor of Paul Dirac's 70th birthday; the paper was published the following year on pp. 413-426 of The Physicist's Conception of Nature (1973), edited by Jagdish Mehra. Schwinger's manuscript of the paper includes an opening paragraph that was removed from the printed version. Magill, The Nobel Prize Winners: Physics, vol. 2, pp. 893-900. Mehra, Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger (2000). (Inventory #: 44198)
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