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Physics Discovery by Diagrams

NCB Deposit # 116

Richard Feynman's diagrams to represent his formulation of quantum electrodynamics (QED) quickly became a well known technique for help in simplifying long calculations. When the fourth floor of the Downs-Lauritsen Laboratory at Caltech was renovated, a wall mural was created including the diagrams of the high-energy physicists who had worked on campus. The NCB thanks  Engineering and Science  for their idea of using these diagrams as a puzzle.

Match the diagram to the physicist's name.  (Unblock your popdowns for immediate feedback.)

Carl Anderson
(A.)           .
(B.)           .
(C.)          .
(D.)           .
Gell-Mann Zweig
(E.)           .

 and at Caltech . . .
exterior lab sign

Interesting Facts . . . .

  • Richard Feynman used diagrams to describe how two electrons approch one another, exchange a photon, and then scatter. (C)
  • Carl Anderson discovered the positron - an electron's antiparticle. This was the first empirical proof of the existence of antimatter. (A)
  • Murray Gell-Mann and grad student George Zweig independently proposed the existence of quarks.  (E)

  • John Schwartz discovered the mechanism depicted by a hexagonal diagram and thus revitalized the field of string theory.  (D)

  • Though counterintuitive, David Politzer showed the quarks interactions weakened with proximity and increased energy, but strengthened with distance.  (B)

    Curves, graphs, diagrams, etc. have long communicated crucial mathematical information.  For example, professors and students in the physical sciences study the Bohr atom, Lewis structures and Schrödinger equations.  Feynman first introduced his diagrams at the Pocono Conference in 1948 to describe how two electrons approach one another, exchange a photon, and then scatter.

Engineering and Science, vol. LXXV (2), 8-9.
California Institute of Technology, Summer, 2012

Feynman stamp on a first day cover. . .

Feynman first day cover
. . . and click here for a closer view of the stamp.

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