Family Resemblances

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:
Family Resemblances

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The uses of Feynman diagrams by theorists, in their dissertations and articles, provide an information-rich road map for charting intellectual traditions and local pedagogical practices. Attending carefully to theorists' training allows us to put flesh on Wittgenstein's useful notion: diagrams drawn by the members of local pedagogical families share classes of resemblances. Although Norman Kroll and his students traced their diagrammatic lineage through Dyson and the postdoc cohort at the Institute for Advanced Study, Robert Marshak's group at the University of Rochester learned their diagrammatic trade directly from Feynman and the growing band of diagram users at Cornell. The Feynman diagrams were also used as the generators of new approximation schemes. This diagrammatic tertium quid synthesized features of both Kroll's and Marshak's group efforts. Two groups, based at Cornell and the Institute for Advanced Study, worked out this new approach in 1951.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; Institute for Advanced Study; Wittgenstein; approximation schemes

Chapter.  16548 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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