Paul Dirac Quotes

Who the Heck is Paul Dirac?

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century.

In 1933 Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.

Born August 08, 1902
Died October 20, 1984

Books by Paul Dirac


Best 38 Quotes by Paul Dirac

“A great deal of my work is just playing with equations and seeing what they give.”

Paul Dirac

“A physical law must possess mathematical beauty.”

Paul Dirac

“A termination of one's life is necessary in the scheme of things to provide a logical reason for unselfishness. The fact that there is an end to one's life compels one to take an interest in things that will continue to live after one is dead.”

Paul Dirac

“A theory with mathematical beauty is more likely to be correct than an ugly one that fits some experimental data.”

Paul Dirac

“Age is, of course, a fever chill
That every physicist must fear.
He's better dead than living still
When once he's past his thirtieth year.”

Paul Dirac

“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

Paul Dirac

“God used beautiful mathematics in creating the world.”

Paul Dirac

“Hopes are always accompanied by fears, and, in scientific research, the fears are liable to become dominant.”

Paul Dirac

“I admired Bohr very much. We had long talks together, long talks in which Bohr did practically all the talking.”

Paul Dirac

“I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.”

Paul Dirac

“I consider that I understand an equation when I can predict the properties of its solutions, without actually solving it.”

Paul Dirac

“I do not see how a man can work on the frontiers of physics and write poetry at the same time. They are in opposition.”

Paul Dirac

“I found the best ideas usually came, not when one was actively striving for them, but when one was in a more relaxed state. I used to take long solitary walks on Sundays, during which I tended to review the current situation in a leisurely way. Such occasions often proved fruitful, even though (or perhaps, because) the primary purpose of the walk was relaxation and not research.”

Paul Dirac

“I should like to suggest to you that the cause of all the economic troubles is that we have an economic system which tries to maintain an equality of value between two things, which it would be better to recognise from the beginning as of unequal value.”

Paul Dirac

“I was taught at school never to start a sentence without knowing the end of it.”

Paul Dirac

“If one is working from the point of view of getting beauty into one's equation, one is on a sure line of progress.”

Paul Dirac

“If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit.”

Paul Dirac

“If there is no complete agreement between the results of one's work and the experiment, one should not allow oneself to be too discouraged.”

Paul Dirac

“If you are receptive and humble, mathematics will lead you by the hand.”

Paul Dirac

“In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.”

Paul Dirac

“It is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment.”

Paul Dirac

Products by Paul Dirac

“Living is worthwhile if one can contribute in some small way to this endless chain of progress.”

Paul Dirac

“Mathematics is only a tool and one should learn to hold the physical ideas in one's mind without reference to the mathematical form.”

Paul Dirac

“Mathematics is the tool specially suited for dealing with abstract concepts of any kind and there is no limit to its power in this field.”

Paul Dirac

“People who equate all the different kinds of human activity to money are taking too primitive a view of things.”

Paul Dirac

“Pick a flower on Earth and you move the farthest star.”

Paul Dirac

“Quantum mechanics has explained all of chemistry and most of physics.”

Paul Dirac

“Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.”

Paul Dirac

“Scientific progress is measured in units of courage, not intelligence.”

Paul Dirac

“The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.”

Paul Dirac

“The mathematician plays a game in which he himself invents the rules while the physicist plays a game in which the rules are provided by nature, but as time goes on it becomes increasingly evident that the rules which the mathematician finds interesting are the same as those which nature has chosen.”

Paul Dirac

“The measure of greatness in a scientific idea is the extent to which it stimulates thought and opens up new lines of research.”

Paul Dirac

“The successful development of science requires a proper balance to be maintained between the method of building up from observations and the method of deducing by pure reasoning from speculative assumptions.”

Paul Dirac

“There are always more people who prefer to speak than to listen.”

Paul Dirac

“What makes the theory of relativity so acceptable to physicists in spite of its going against the principle of simplicity is its great mathematical beauty. This is a quality which cannot be defined, any more than beauty in art can be defined, but which people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating.”

Paul Dirac

“When Erwin Schrödinger went to the Solvay conferences in Brussels, he would walk from the station to the hotel where the delegates stayed, carrying all his luggage in a rucksack and looking so like a tramp that it needed a great deal of argument at the reception desk before he could claim a room.”

Paul Dirac

“When you ask what are electrons and protons I ought to answer that this question is not a profitable one to ask and does not really have a meaning. The important thing about electrons and protons is not what they are but how they behave, how they move. I can describe the situation by comparing it to the game of chess. In chess, we have various chessmen, kings, knights, pawns and so on. If you ask what chessman is, the answer would be that it is a piece of wood, or a piece of ivory, or perhaps just a sign written on paper, or anything whatever. It does not matter. Each chessman has a characteristic way of moving and this is all that matters about it. The whole game os chess follows from this way of moving the various chessmen.”

Paul Dirac

"The Relation between Mathematics and Physics" Quotes

“At the beginning of time the laws of Nature were probably very different from what they are now. Thus we should consider the laws of Nature as continually changing with the epoch, instead of as holding uniformly throughout space-time.”

Paul Dirac
The Relation between Mathematics and Physics