Chapter

An Introduction in the Poconos

in Drawing Theories Apart

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780226422664
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226422657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226422657.003.0002
An Introduction in the Poconos

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Feynman introduced his diagrams in the spring of 1948 as an aid for tackling difficulties that had challenged theoretical physicists for decades. Following a brief review of these earlier efforts, this chapter turns to the diagrams' early dispersion, thereby charting the diagrams' rising popularity between 1948 and 1954. In the Pocono Manor Inn, one spring day, Feynman offered his colleagues an escape from the drudgery that had marred all their calculations for so long. Feynman's presentation followed a virtuoso lecture by his young rival, Julian Schwinger. Schwinger's magnetic-moment calculation had already brought widespread acclaim just a few months earlier. At the Pocono meeting, Schwinger demonstrated his new methods with a dazzling display of austere mathematical sprezzatura—a display that likely reminded several of his listeners of Oppenheimer's famous grandiloquence, and which took the form of a derivation.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; Pocono Manor Inn; magnetic-moment calculation; theoretical physicists; diagrams; Schwinger

Chapter.  13658 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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