The Paul A.M. Dirac Papers are a terrific source of information about the public, scholarly side of Paul Dirac: the lecturer, the genius mathematician, a theorist among theorists. However, in our eagerness to honor someone’s professional achievements, it’s easy to gloss over the rest of their personality, the private figure that coexists with the public one.
Collections of personal papers also afford a chance to see, well, the personal side of that someone. The considerable extent of photographs in the Dirac Papers can bring the familiar Dirac, the friend, the father, the person, to those unfamiliar with him. In honor of Dirac’s 119th birthday on August 8th this year, we present the following images, a sample of the casual, quotidian Dirac.
Dirac the Traveler
Like all of us, Paul Dirac liked to vacation. He often found himself traveling for enjoyment or for professional reasons. The Dirac Papers are replete with images of Dirac, his family, and his friends traveling to all kinds of places by all kinds of means.
Dirac the Family Man
Paul Dirac married Margit “Manci” Wigner in 1937. He adopted her two children, and they eventually had two more daughters as well. Like anyone, Dirac spent quality time with his immediate family, in-laws, and grandchildren, and we’re lucky enough to have evidence in abundance at FSU Libraries.
Dirac the College Buddy
Paul Dirac studied at several institutions of higher learning. After completing his landmark dissertation at University of Cambridge, Dirac did post-doctoral studies at Göttingen, under German physicist and mathematician Max Born. Like many a post-doc, Dirac formed lifelong friendships there, with physics luminaries-to-be such as Yoshikatsu Sugiura and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
See the sources cited below to learn more about Paul Dirac the person, as well as Paul Dirac the Nobel Laureate mathematician and quantum physicist.
If you know of further sources that can help Special Collections & Archives educate about Paul Dirac and develop our collections, please contact us at email@example.com.
Sources and Further Reading
Farmelo, G. (2009). The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life Of Paul Dirac, Mystic Of The Atom. Basic Books. https://fsu-flvc.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01FALSC_FSU/pag4dr/alma99383082175606576
Paul A.M. Dirac Collection, FSU Digital Library. https://www.diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:diraccol
Paul A. M. Dirac Papers, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/MSS_1989-009