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Michel Baranger and Gerald Brown's work in the Lamb shift


Presenting Schwinger, Feynman and Dyson's ideas at Birmingham
Hans Bethe Scientist
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In the summer of '48, after Schwinger and Feynman had talked at Pocono, I went to Europe, and of course, as an obvious thing, I went to Birmingham to talk at Rudi Peierls' seminar. So I... I presented the theory there, and said the problem of... of quantum electrodynamics had been solved by these two people. And Feynman's theory is particularly useful. And one especially useful person there was Freeman Dyson, whereupon Rudi Peierls immediately offered Dyson a fellowship at his lab to continue. I could also report to the Peierls Seminar that Dyson had written me that he had been able to prove not only the equivalent of the two theories, of Schwinger and Feynman, but also that the theory would converge in all orders. He later on showed that in spite of that, even if every order converges, fundamentally there still remained an infinity in the theory.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: Pocono Manor, Birmingham University, Rudolf Peierls, Julian Schwinger, Richard Feynman, Freeman Dyson

Duration: 1 minute, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008