International Dispersion

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:
International Dispersion

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Personal contact, informal mentoring, and the postdoc cascade put Feynman diagrams into circulation within the United States. The American example proved to be the rule: personal contact and the institutions of training were crucial for spreading Feynman diagrams throughout the world. The physicists' experiences in three countries—Great Britain, Japan, and the Soviet Union—highlight the mechanisms behind the diagrams' international dispersion: British physicists were in frequent, casual contact with their cold war allies, and the diagrams spread much the way they did in the United States. In Japan, the diagrams spread through a confluence of political, diplomatic, and institutional rearrangements between 1948 and 1950, which led to an opening up of informal relations between physicists in Japan and the United States and among physicists throughout Japan itself. Given the contours of the cold war, Soviet physicists' engagement with Feynman diagrams provides the starkest contrast with the American case.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; mentoring; international dispersion; cold war; Soviet physicists

Chapter.  24907 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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