The Seeds of 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:
The Seeds of Dispersion

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The Feynman diagrams' dispersion in pictorial form, with their attendant dispersion in calculational roles, may be derived from at least two sources. In the first place, the diagrams' original progenitors—Feynman and Dyson—disagreed about the diagrams' proper forms, uses, and meanings. The split between Feynman and Dyson provided one key ingredient for the diagrams' later scattered order. The other crucial factor came from the failure of Feynman's and Dyson's original diagrammatic techniques when physicists tried to tackle the behavior of particles beyond the familiar electron and photon. Theorists such as Paul Matthews, Jack Steinberger, and Abraham Pais tinkered with the form of their diagrams, all in an effort to craft their diagrams to better suit their new purposes. Eventually, between the Feynman–Dyson split and the failure of perturbative approaches for treating nuclear forces, Feynman diagrams' pictorial forms and calculational roles became more and more differentiated.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; perturbative methods; Feynman–Dyson split; diagrammatic techniques

Chapter.  14394 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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