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Dirac Antimatter Paper

Dirac Antimatter Paper

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Published by Gani Demiraj
Dirac Antimatter Paper
Dirac Equation
Dirac Antimatter Paper
Dirac Equation

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Published by: Gani Demiraj on Feb 05, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Dirac Equation and the Prediction of Antimatter 
 David Vidmar
Throughout the history of physics, there may be no scientist quite so genuinely
 as Paul Allen Maurice Dirac. In fact, his enigma so permeated all facets of his life that his own first name, shortened to P.A.M, was somewhat of an accidental mystery for years. Countless anecdotes of his socially awward, detached, bi!arre, and borderline autistic beha"ior are still recounted today. In one such story Dirac was said to be gi"ing a lecture on his wor on quantum mechanics. During the question period a member of the audience remared that he did not understand how Dirac had deri"ed a certain equation. After nearly #$ seconds of silence, the moderator prompted for a reply and Dirac merely responded, %That was not a question, it was a comment.& '() *eha"ior lie this can be seen to be the result of his broen family led by his cold father, but also showcases Dirac+s incredible literalism and pro"ides hints to fundamental characteristics that made him a great physicist. *rilliance, it seems, can be born from se"ere hardship. Paul Dirac is perhaps most comparable with Isaac ewton as a physicist. -hile characters such as instein or /eynman relied more hea"ily upon their physical intuition, and both admitted a relati"e weaness in mathematics in comparison, Dirac and ewton showed a much greater appreciation for fundamental mathematics. /or Dirac, this can be owed to his ha"ing recei"ed a degree in mathematics, not physics, from the 0ni"ersity of *ristol. It was this mathematical approach to problems of quantum theory that would afford him success in combining equations of special relati"ity and quantum mechanics. This relati"istic quantum theory was both complicated and elegant, and would win Dirac the obel Pri!e in Physics in 12##. It would also lead him to one of the most important and daring predictions in the history of science. To understand such an important prediction, one must first now a bit about the theory that ga"e rise to it. In this case, the required theory relies upon fundamental principles of quantum mechanics,
from the 3chr4dinger quation to the 5lein67ordon quation to the Dirac quation in its totality. Proceeding with this progression in mind, one must first ha"e a basic understanding of the 3chr4dinger quation and where it came from. *efore the ad"ent of quantum theory, ewtonian mechanics dictated a direct approach to particles and motion. The basic function of ewtonian mechanics was to find the position of a particle at a gi"en time, namely to deri"e the function for 89t: if only one direction is in"ol"ed. ;nce this function is nown, any dynamic "ariable can be calculated and as such its motion can be fully described and the physicist+s <ob is done. To deri"e 89t:, ewton gi"es his famous second law=
. If one nows the initial conditions, and perhaps potential energy function, this equation can yield the desired 89t:. This process seemed quite adequate until the beginning of the >$
 century. It was around this time that not only was the special theory of relati"ity de"eloped by instein, but also the need for quantum mechanics was first being seen. 8periments showing the discrete spectrum of the atom, the failure of inetic theory relating to blacbody radiation, discreti!ation of energy, and the photoelectric effect were all suggesting a need for a new theory of motion on the scale of the atom. In the e"eryday domain, when one is discussing cars or bo8es mo"ing, ewtonian mechanics could still dominate. It was seen that only when one starts to loo at particles themsel"es does the need for quantum mechanics arise. This new quantum theory was de"eloped throughout the early 12$$+s, and was really solidified in the years 12>? and 12>@. It was during these years that -erner eisenberg first introduced his abstract matri8 formulation of quantum mechanics, e8tending the phenomenological *ohr model of the atom. Bust one year later rwin 3chr4dinger introduced his own formulation in"ol"ing wa"e mechanics and a mysterious wa"efunction. *oth of these formulations were later pro"en to be mathematically equi"alent, and "arious other formulations would show up in the form of ichard /eynman+s sum o"er integral approach and Da"id *ohm+s ontological approach. The Dirac quation itself is based upon 3chr4dinger+s formulation of quantum mechanics, and as such this is the only formulation that will be discussed from here forward. In this approach, the goal
is much as in ewtonian mechanics. Instead of trying to find 89t:, howe"er, the desired function is
 x , y , z,
9the particle+s wa"efunction:. This wa"efunction encodes all of the information that one would need to analy!e the particle. To find this wa"efunction, 3chr4dinger introduced a fundamental equation analogous to ewton+s second law in quantum theory, gi"en as= 
 91:This is nown as 3chr4dinger+s quation, and can be sol"ed to find the desired wa"efunction. Perhaps  <ust as fundamental, it was found that when one squares this wa"efunction, a statistical law seems to hold. This is called *orn+s statistical interpretation, and is a way of defining this mysterious wa"efunction. It says that this wa"efunction squared gi"es the probability of finding the particle at the specified point at a certain time. ;ne can then integrate this wa"efunction, more really a probability density, to get the probability of finding the particle between two points. This is gi"en by= 
 9>:It is important at this point to briefly discuss the merits of this wa"efunction and its statistical interpretation. This wa"efunction can be shown to be linear in
, meaning that the wa"efunction at one time determines the wa"efunction at any other time. It also must be normali!ed, such that the integral o"er all space of the wa"efunction squared be equal to one 9as the particle must e8ist somewhere in space:. The 3chr4dinger quation then must certainly preser"e this normali!ation of the wa"efunction, otherwise the statistical interpretation is unphysical. This preser"ation of normali!ation can indeed be shown to be a feature of the 3chr4dinger quation '?).These features are crucial in the importance and rele"ance of the 3chr4dinger quation to quantum theory. If either of these features is broen, the theory would be unphysical and would not mae sense. As great as this formulation is in elucidating the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics, and gi"ing us means to calculate obser"ables, it has one ma<or flaw= it is not orent! in"ariant. This

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