The Theory of Everything...
Paul Dirac is in the news at the moment. The Institute of Physics in London have decided to celebrate his birth 100 years ago with a cartoon strip.
I remember studying Dirac's work at University. He was a bit of a hero of mine being as he was:- (a) clever, (b) a physicist and (c) British. Three features that are in no way related.
The importance of Dirac's work lies essentially in his famous wave equation, which introduced special relativity into Schrödinger's equation. Taking into account the fact that, mathematically speaking, relativity theory and quantum theory are not only distinct from each other, but also oppose each other, Dirac's work could be considered a fruitful reconciliation between the two theories. It was a big step towards that illusive goal a Grand Unified Theory (GUT).
He also predicted the existence of antimatter (specifically the antiparticle of the electron) that was later discovered in nature. Antimatter is generated by smashing high speed particles together. Not a cheap thing to do. Antimatter is the most expensive material on earth:- $62.5 trillion a gram.
[Thanks to the Guardian for some of the info]