Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
Born: 8 August 1902, Bristol, United Kingdom
Died: 20 October 1984, Tallahassee, FL, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory"
Field: quantum mechanics
Prize share: 1/2
During the intense period 1925-26, quantum theories were proposed that accurately described the energy levels of atoms. However these equations should be adapted to Einstein's theory of relativity. In 1928 Paul Dirac managed to formulate a fully relativistic quantum theory. The equation gave solutions that he interpreted as being due to the existence of a particle corresponding to the electron, but of positive charge. This particle, the positron, was later found experimentally.