Paul Dirac
Born: 08 Aug, 1902
Died: 20 Oct, 1984
Field: Scientist; mathematician
Location in the Abbey: Nave
Type of memorial: Stone

Probably the greatest English physicist since Sir Isaac Newton, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born on 8 August 1902 in Bristol. His father Charles came to England from Geneva and married Florence Holten. After studying electrical engineering at Bristol University Paul eventually obtained a place at St John's College, Cambridge, later becoming Lucasian Professor of Mathematics and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He developed his own version of quantum theory and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics and the Order of Merit. He married Margit Balazs and had two daughters. For many years he was a research professor in Florida USA; he died on 20 October 1984 at Tallahassee, where he is buried.

On 13 November 1995 a memorial stone was unveiled in the nave near Newton's monument. This was cut by Lida Cardozo of the Kindersley workshop. The inscription on the stone also includes the "Dirac equation", describing the behaviour of the electron:

"1902 P.A.M. DIRAC O.M. PHYSICIST 1984"

A photograph of the stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Dedication of a Memorial to Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, 1995 (PDF, 1,002KB)

Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.

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