Teaching the Diagrams in an Age of Textbooks

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:
Teaching the Diagrams in an Age of Textbooks

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Many of the diagrammatic maneuvers regarding the Feynman diagrams have provided the scaffolding for what coalesced as the S-matrix program. Several theorists hoped that this diagram-derived program would provide a new theory of nuclear particles' interactions that could replace the rival quantum-field-theoretic framework. This chapter discusses the paper tools that have become essential to the S-matrix program and describes how physicists chose to write about and teach Feynman's diagrams during the new age of textbooks. Despite the postwar publishing boom in the United States, textbooks on the new diagrammatic techniques did not enter publishing immediately. There were two main reasons the publication of textbooks did not halt the diagrammatic diversity. First, the textbook authors focused on teaching useful piecemeal tools and techniques rather than overarching theories. Second, the textbook authors reinscribed the original Feynman–Dyson split, thereby continuing a tension over the place Feynman diagrams should assume.

Keywords: Feynman diagrams; Feynman–Dyson split; S-matrix program; diagrammatic techniques; theoretic framework

Chapter.  11131 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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