Veamos el primer contacto de Dirac con el trabajo de Heisenberg:
I received an early copy of Heisenberg's first work a little before publication and I studied it for a while and within a week or two I saw that the noncommutation was really the dominant characteristic of Heisenberg's new theory. It was really more important than Heisenberg's idead of building up the theory in terms of quantities closely connected with experimental results. So I was led to concentrate on the idea of noncommutation and to see how the ordinary dynamics which peaplo had been using until then should be modified to include it.
Es muy importante esta etapa en la vida de Dirac. Pasó de ser un estudiante aventajado a ser un reconocido físico teórico, y comenzó su carrera al premio Nobel.
El trabajo de Heisenberg (todavía no publicado) lo envío éste a Fowler, el supervisor de Dirac en aquel entonces. Fowler se lo pasa a Dirac y éste lo encontró inicialmente algo abtruso, pero luego comenzó a captar las ideas novedosas de Heisenberg. Escribí algunos detalles (incluso parte de este discurso) en:
Dirac y las ecuaciones de la mecánica cuántica
Dirac revisando el trabajo de Heisenberg
Dirac y la teoría de Heisenberg
Es interesante leer cómo Dirac se consideraba preparado para extender el trabajo de Heisenberg:
At this stage, you see, I had an advantage over Heisenberg because I did not have his fears. I was not afraid of Heisenberg's theory collapsing. It would not have affected me as it would have affected Heisenberg. It would not have meant that I would have had to start again from the beginning.
I think it is a general rule that the originator of a new idea is not the most suitable person to deveop it because his fears of something going wrong are really too strong and prevent his looking at the method from a purely detached point of view in the way that he ought to.
Y también es interesante que ya estuviera al tanto de las ideas de Hamilton, y notablemente, recordaba que ahí había un germen de no conmutatividad, como en la teoría de Heisenberg.
I had this advantage over Heisenberg. I also had other great advantages. I was a research student at that time with no other duties except research. I can thank the fact that I was born at just the right time. A fre years older or younger and I would have missed that opportunity. But everything seemed to be in my favor.
Also, with regard to the problem of modifying the ordinary dynamics to bring in noncommutation, I had become used to the earlier theory of Bohr and Sommerfeld - the theory of atomic orbits - and this theory had been found to be closely connected with a form of mechanics due to Hamilton, which he had discovered nearly a hundred years previously. It was found that Hamilton's form of dynamics was just the form which was most suitable for bringing in noncommutation, and it was not a very difficult problem to work out how these two ideas should be fitted together.
En el próximo post sigo compartiendo y comentando este interesante relato de Dirac.
Angel "Java" Lopez