Introduction: Origin, Use and Interpretation of Feynman Diagrams

  • Adrian WüthrichEmail author
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 26)


“Like the silicon chip of more recent years, the Feynman diagram was bringing computation to the masses.” Thus Julian Schwinger, displaying a hint of both disdain and admiration, appraises the enormous impact of Feynman diagrams as a mathematical tool on the daily work of theoretical physicists. And indeed, since Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988) invented them, around the year 1948, and Freeman J. Dyson subsequently systematized them, these diagrams have undeniably become an indispensable tool for performing calculations in modern quantum field theory. They are omnipresent in the theoretical treatments of an important class of elementary particle phenomena, in particular quantum electrodynamics (QED). In modern textbooks on quantum field theory—I will quote from one of them below—they take centre stage, while the teaching of their use is one of the essential components in courses on the subject.


Feynman Diagram Mathematical Expression Perturbative Expansion Lamb Shift Virtual Particle 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Bern, History and Philosophy of Science, Exact SciencesBernSwitzerland

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