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Dirac
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come_to_think
Reading:  The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom, by Graham Famelo (2009)

Jim gave me this book, partly because it contains speculations that Dirac, like me, was somewhere on the so-called autism spectrum.  I myself doubt if that sort of assignment is of much value; but certainly, like many intellectuals, he was not people-minded.

It was pleasant to see the actual history of the man's relation to the many physical concepts named by or after him.  Mention of bras & kets brought to mind a clerihew that I wrote in my copy of The Principles of Quantum Mechanics:

P. A. M. Dirac
Refused to call it a brac.
Like many Brits,
He had a thing about tits.

Some scandalous gossip, not about Dirac, was new to me: that Robert Oppenheimer, resentful of being assigned experimental work, put a poisoned apple on Patrick Blackett's desk, and as a result was nearly expelled from Cambridge (Google reveals that the details are disputed); that G. H. Hardy's three greatest heroes were Einstein, Lenin, and an Australian cricketer named Bradman; that Wolfgang Pauli once got drunk, fell downstairs, and broke his shoulder (I suspect that many of his colleagues quietly cheered); and that J. Edgar Hoover started a campaign to have Einstein deported from the U.S. (God bless America! our Beria was only an ass).

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