cover image

History of quantum field theory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In particle physics, the history of quantum field theory starts with its creation by Paul Dirac, when he attempted to quantize the electromagnetic field in the late 1920s. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the creation of quantum mechanics". Major advances in the theory were made in the 1940s and 1950s, leading to the introduction of renormalized quantum electrodynamics (QED). QED was so successful and accurately predictive that efforts were made to apply the same basic concepts for the other forces of nature. By the late 1970s, these efforts successfully utilized gauge theory in the strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force, producing the modern Standard Model of particle physics.

Efforts to describe gravity using the same techniques have, to date, failed. The study of quantum field theory is still flourishing, as are applications of its methods to many physical problems. It remains one of the most vital areas of theoretical physics today, providing a common language to several different branches of physics.