Person: Schwinger, Julian Seymour
Schwinger formulated quantum electrodynamics and thus reconciled quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After the award of his doctorate Schwinger worked at the University of California, Berkeley from 1939 to 1941.
- Schwinger did not like the work on atomic bombs so he got in his car and drove to Boston where Uhlenbeck was working on radar at the Radiation Laboratory.
- Schwinger asked Uhlenbeck if he could work there and it was agreed.
- In 1961 Schwinger was awarded an honorary doctorate from Purdue.
- In nominating him for this degree Hubert M James wrote on 6 December 1960 about Schwinger's contributions.
- Schwinger was one of the inventors in the 1940s of the theory of renormalization, mentioned above.
- In 1951 he proposed, what is today called the Schwinger effect in quantum electrodynamics, where electron-positron pairs are sucked out of a vacuum by an electric field.
- Schwinger was joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1965) for his work in formulating quantum electrodynamics and thus reconciling quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity.
- Using the method of renormalization which he also developed Schwinger was able to prove that a small anomalous contribution should be added to the value of the magnetic moment accepted until then.
- Schwinger's calculation was indeed earlier than and very important for the proper interpretation of these measurements.
- Schwinger had developed the formalism of the new quantum electrodynamics in several fundamental papers ....
- From 1972 until his death in 1994 Schwinger worked at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Schwinger gave his students much more than guidance on their research.
- He gave them a depth of understanding and a mastery of the field which permitted each to become not a Schwinger disciple, but an independent scientist.
- The list of his contributions is staggering, from his early work leading to the Schwinger action principle, Euclidean quantum field theory, and the genesis of the standard model, to later valuable work on magnetic charge and the Casimir effect.
- The Nobel Prize for Physics was certainly not the only honour Schwinger received.
Born 12 February 1918, New York, USA. Died 16 July 1994, Los Angeles, California, USA.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive