Paul Dirac and Mathematical Beauty
Apart from Einstein, Paul Dirac was probably the greatest theoretical physicist of the 20th century. Dirac, co-inventor of quantum mechanics, is now best known for conceiving of anti-matter and also for his deeply eccentric behavior.
For him, the most important attribute of a fundamental theory was its mathematical beauty, an idea that he said was “almost a religion” to him.
Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation, which describes the behaviour of fermions, and predicted the existence of antimatter.
Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”