Farmelo on Dirac & his Religion of Mathematical Beauty

When Oskar, the post-doc at Niels Bohr's Institute describes the dramatic personae of quantum mechanics to Anna, here's what he writes about Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac

In many ways, Dirac was an anomaly among his loud, larger-than-life contemporaries. Dirac was fascinated by beauty, but he had little time for literature or the theater and thought philosophy a waste of time; he sought, and found, a majestic beauty in mathematics. Dirac thrived on its enduring nature and its regal lack of ambiguity; there is no room for dissent, or even opinion, regarding a mathematical truth: it is absolute and eternal. Perhaps it was because of this preference that Dirac worked alone. Words crave company, they thrive on conversation and interpretation, whereas mathematics has its own internal checks and is free of the need for external validation. Like mathematics, Dirac was content unto himself. When he chimed in to the quantum mechanics chorus, Dirac attracted immediate attention. His notes were so pure and so sure that they cut through the hum, and all around him stopped to listen. The song he sang was a hymn to mathematics.

During my research for Only The Longest Threads, I came across The Strangest Man - a masterful biography of Dirac. I learnt a lot from Graham Farmelo's book, and was excited to discover this talk he delivered on the same, fascinating, subject.