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The Papers of Professor Paul Dirac

 Fonds
Reference Code: GBR/0014/DRAC

Scope and Contents

This collection of xeroxes comprises mainly letters and rough notes showing the developing history of quantum mechanics.

Dates

  • 1924 - 1971

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the xeroxes, or copies of the photographs, must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Paul Dirac was born 8 August 1902. In 1923 he went to Cambridge University as a mathematics research student under the theoretical physicist Ralph Fowler. Dirac then did graduate work in statistical physics and quantum theory. He completed his PhD degree at Cambridge in 1926. In 1926 he went to stay at Bohr's Institute in Copenhagen and continued his work. In 1927 he published ‘The Quantum Theory of the Emission and Absorption of Radiation’. From 1927 onwards Dirac lectured on quantum mechanics at Cambridge and in 1930 he published the textbook 'The Principles of Quantum Mechanics'. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1930 and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University in 1932. He received (jointly) the Nobel Prize for his wave equation of the electron in 1933. Dirac married Margit Balazs in 1937. She had a son and a daughter from her previous marriage and they then had two daughters. After he retired in 1969 he went to the University of Miami and in 1971 took up a research professorship at Florida State University, Tallahassee. Dirac died there 20 October 1984.

Extent

9 archive box(es)

Language

English

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection level description, and a full catalogue, is available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London and on the Janus website /janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/>.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dirac loaned his early papers while he was still Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, in 1969, having already deposited the proof copy of Heisenberg's first paper on quantum mechanics earlier that same year. The rest of the collection came to the Archives Centre in September 1971. Dirac's widow removed the papers in 1987 to join the rest of his papers at the Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA. DRAC 4/1 was deposited by Dirac's daughter in 2013.

Existence and Location of Originals

The originals of these xeroxes are held at the Dirac Library in the USA: http://www.lib.fsu.edu/about/fsulibraries/dirac/index.html

General

This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Louise King of Churchill Archives Centre in December 2004. Biographical information was obtained from Professor Dirac's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) and from the catalogue of the papers made in 1981. The catalogue was converted from typescript into electronic form by Lynsey Robertson in 2009. DRAC 4/1 was added to the catalogue by Madelin Terrazas in August 2013.

Originator(s)

Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice, 1902-1984, Physicist
Date
2004-12-07 09:55:13+00:00
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Contact:
Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087

The UK Archival Thesaurus has been integrated with our catalogue, thanks to Kings College London and the AIM25 project for their support with this.