The Genesis of Feynman Diagrams

  • Adrian Wüthrich

Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 26)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Adrian Wüthrich
    Pages 65-111
  3. Adrian Wüthrich
    Pages 113-139
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 191-208

About this book


In a detailed reconstruction of the genesis of Feynman diagrams the author reveals that their development was constantly driven by the attempt to resolve fundamental problems concerning the uninterpretable infinities that arose in quantum as well as classical theories of electrodynamic phenomena. Accordingly, as a comparison with the graphical representations that were in use before Feynman diagrams shows, the resulting theory of quantum electrodynamics, featuring Feynman diagrams, differed significantly from earlier versions of the theory in the way in which the relevant phenomena were conceptualized and modelled. The author traces the development of Feynman diagrams from Feynman's "struggle with the Dirac equation" in unpublished manuscripts to the two of Freeman Dyson's publications which put Feynman diagrams into a field theoretic context. The author brings to the fore that Feynman and Dyson not only created a powerful computational device but, above all, a new conceptual framework in which the uninterpretable infinities that had arisen in the old form of the theory could be precisely identified and subsequently removed in a justifiable manner.


Diagrammatic induction Dirac equation Dyson Elementary Particles Feynman Diagrams Feynman's Theory Free propagation Freeman Hamiltonian History of physics Quantum mechanics Richard P. Feynman quantum electrodynamics renormalization succesive scattering

Authors and affiliations

  • Adrian Wüthrich
    • 1
  1. 1., History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Bibliographic information