Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger

Paperback | March 25, 2004

byJagdish Mehra, Kimball Milton

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Julian Schwinger was one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. His contributions are as important, and as pervasive, as those of Richard Feynman, with whom (and with Sin-itiro Tomonaga) he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics. Yet, while Feynman is universallyrecognized as a cultural icon, Schwinger is little known even to many within the physics community. In his youth, Julian Schwinger was a nuclear physicist, turning to classical electrodynamics after World War II. In the years after the war, he was the first to renormalize quantum electrodynamics.Subsequently, he presented the most complete formulation of quantum field theory and laid the foundations for the electroweak synthesis of Glashow, Weinberg, and Salam, and he made fundamental contributions to the theory of nuclear magnetic resonance, to many-body theory, and to quantum optics. Hedeveloped a unique approach to quantum mechanics, measurement algebra, and a general quantum action principle. His discoveries include 'Feynman's' parameters and 'Glauber's' coherent states; in later years he also developed an alternative to operator field theory which he called Source Theory,reflecting his profound phenomenological bent. His late work on the Thomas-Fermi model of atoms and on the Casimir effect continues to be an inspiration to a new generation of physicists. This biography describes the many strands of his research life, while tracing the personal life of this privateand gentle genius.

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Julian Schwinger was one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. His contributions are as important, and as pervasive, as those of Richard Feynman, with whom (and with Sin-itiro Tomonaga) he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics. Yet, while Feynman is universallyrecognized as a cultural icon, Schwinger is litt...

Jagdish Mehra has been University Distinguished Professor of Sciences and Humanities at the University of Houston, Texas for many years and also served as UNESCO-Sir Julian Huxley Distinguished Professor of Physics and The History of Science at Trieste and Paris. He has published extensively on the historical and conceptual developmen...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:690 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.44 inPublished:March 25, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198527454

ISBN - 13:9780198527459

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Table of Contents

Preface1. A New York City Childhood2. Julian Schwinger at Columbia University3. Schwinger Goes to Berkeley4. During the Second World War5. Winding up at the Radiation Lab, Going to Harvard, and Marriage6. The Development of Quantum Electrodynamics Until 1947: The Historical Background of Julian Schwinger's Work on QED7. Quantum Electrodynamics and Julian Schwinger's Path to Fame8. Schwinger, Tomonaga, Feymann, and Dyson: The Triumph of Renormalization9. Green's Functions and the Dynamical Action Principle10. The World According to Stern and Gerlach11. Custodian of Quantum Field Theory12. Electroweak Unification and Foreshadowing of the Standard Model13. The Nobel Prize and the Last Years at Harvard14. Move to UCLA and Continuing Concerns15. Taking the Road Less Travelled By16. Diversions of a Gentle GeniusAppendix A: Julian Schwinger - List of PublicationsAppendix B: Ph.D. Students of Julian SchwingerIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Mehra and Milton provide a great deal of material from interviews and archival files and thus help give us a fuller picture of Schwinger. Perhaps their most important contribution is their account of the evolution of many of Schwinger's thoughts. [...] It does shed light on a many-facetedgenius.'Tian Yu Cao, Physics Today