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Paul Dirac

Probably the greatest English physicist since Sir Isaac Newton, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born on 8th 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 20th October 1984 at Tallahassee, where he is buried.

On 13th 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

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

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.

Born

8th August 1902

Died

20th October 1984

Memorial

13th November 1995

Field

Scientist; mathematician

Location

Nave

Memorial Type

Stone

Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac

By Nobel Foundation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Dirac
Paul Dirac memorial

© The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

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Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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