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Quantum Electrodynamics

Nature volume 160, pages 135136 (26 July 1947) | Download Citation



THE subject of quantum electrodynamics is extremely difficult, even for the case of a single electron. The usual method of solving the corresponding wave equation leads to divergent integrals. To avoid these, Prof. P. A. M. Dirac* uses the method of redundant variables. This does not abolish the difficulty, but presents it in a new form, which may be dealt with in two ways. The first of these needs only comparatively simple mathematics and is directly connected with an elegant general scheme, but unfortunately its wave functions apply only to a hypothetical world and so its physical interpretation is indirect. The second way has the advantage of a direct physical interpretation, but the mathematics is so complicated that it has not yet been solved even for what appears to be the simplest possible case. Both methods seem worth further study, failing the discovery of a third which would combine the advantages of both.

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