How Dirac's Seminal Contributions Pave the Way for Comprehending Nature's Deeper Designs

Mani L. Bhaumik


Credible reasons are presented to reveal that many of the lingering century old enigmas, surrounding the behavior of at least an individual quantum particle, can be comprehended in terms of an objectively real specific wave function. This wave function is gleaned from the single particle energy-momentum eigenstate offered by the theory of space filling universal quantum fields that is an inevitable outcome of Dirac's pioneering masterpiece. Examples of these well-known enigmas are wave particle duality, the de Broglie hypothesis, the uncertainty principle, wave function collapse, and predictions of measurement outcomes in terms of probability instead of certainty. Paul Dirac successfully incorporated special theory of relativity into quantum mechanics for the first time. This was accomplished through his ingenious use of matrices that allowed the equations of motion to maintain the necessary first order time derivative feature necessary for positive probability density. The ensuing Dirac equation for the electron led to the recognition of the mystifying quantized spin and magnetic moment as intrinsic properties in contrast to earlier ad hoc assumptions. The solution of his relativistic equation for the hydrogen atom produced results in perfect agreement with experimental data available at the time. The most far reaching prediction of the celebrated Dirac equation was the totally unexpected existence of anti-particles, culminating in the eventual development of the quantum field theory of the Standard Model that reveals the deepest secrets of the universe known to date.

Quanta 2019; 8: 88–100.

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ISSN: 1314-7374