FEYNMAN WORKING ON QUARK THEORY. FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. 1918-1988. Autograph Manuscript, mathematical notes on a conversation with physicist John Preskill on quantum theory, including numerous "Feynman diagrams" in text,

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Lot 21
FEYNMAN WORKING ON QUARK THEORY.
FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. 1918-1988.
Autograph Manuscript, mathematical notes on a conversation with physicist John Preskill on quantum theory, including numerous "Feynman diagrams" in text,

Sold for US$ 17,812 inc. premium
FEYNMAN WORKING ON QUARK THEORY.
FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. 1918-1988. Autograph Manuscript, mathematical notes on a conversation with physicist John Preskill on quantum theory, including numerous "Feynman diagrams" in text, headed "Conversation with Preskill," 3 pp, 280 x 215 mm, written on grid-ruled, 3-hole punch paper, 2 additional blank leaves, [Caltech, Pasadena, CA,] c.1983-4.
Provenance: Richard Feynman; sold "...the Papers of Richard Feynman," Sotheby's, New York, November 30, 2018, lot 98.

"What I cannot create, I do not understand."
— written in Feynman's hand on his blackboard upon his death in 1988.

SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND AN ANOMALY IN QUARK THEORY, FEYNMAN WORKS THROUGH A SERIES OF EQUATIONS, USING BOTH DIAGRAMS AND PATH INTEGRALS. He notes as his "central question" to determine whether "the anamoly [sic] (combined with confinement, etc) [is] the fundamental driver that makes Goldstone mode?" A fascinating window into the working mind of one the greatest modern physicists.

Feynman's notes record in real time his explorations of Nambu-Goldstone bosons, which appear in quark models exhibiting a spontaneous breakdown of continuous symmetries. Feynman was at the forefront of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) back in the mid-1960s — famous for proposing a "parton model" alternative to Gell-Mann's quark theory — and in the 1970s he worked at constructing a "relativistic harmonic oscillator quark model." Though Feynman subsequently turned his attention to other areas of physics, he maintained an active interest in QCD. As John Preskill himself noted in a 2018 lecture, "In the mid-1980s, Feynman was very interested in two topics I happened to know something about: Quark confinement and chiral anomalies. We had frequent discussions about both." Feynman here observes that "perhaps the anamoly [sic] is to be understood as an infrared effect + gauge invariance," a topic that would later be discussed in QCD literature.

Known for his originality of thought and novel approaches to problems, Feynman distinctively, and perhaps uniquely, made major contributions to our understanding of each of the four forces of nature. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for demonstrating that quantum electrodynamics (QED) was a consistent relativistic theory of electromagnetic interactions, and his "parton model" of the strong force enabled physicists to calculate the interactions of subnuclear particles. Feynman path integrals, providing a weighted sum of all possible histories of the system from the initial to the final state, have become an indispensable method of quantizing classical field theories. And his "Feynman diagrams" revolutionized physics, taking "the half-made conceptions of waves and particles in the 1940s and shaped them into tools that ordinary physicists could use and understand" (Gleick), becoming a transcendent phenomenon known to everyone who has ever watched "The Big Bang Theory."

Feynman's blackboard epitaph — "What I cannot create, I do not understand" — brilliantly epitomizes Feynman's working process here. Feynman almost invariably insisted on finding his own way through a problem, even if other solutions had already been proposed; and never one content with limits, Feynman continually pushed against the established and known, seeking to expand the intellectual horizon and to propose alternative solutions. As Feynman here actively wrestles with a major unsolved physics problem, skillfully developing his equations and probing for possible solutions, we see the quintessential Feynman at work. A rare and intimate glimpse into the mind of "the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential physicist of modern times" (Gleick).

REFERENCES:
Gleick, James. Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. New York: 2012.
Preskill, Richard. Feynman After 40. Delivered APS April Meeting 16 April 2018, http://theory.caltech.edu/~preskill/talks/APS-April-2018-Feynman-4-3.pdf.
Contacts
FEYNMAN WORKING ON QUARK THEORY. FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. 1918-1988. Autograph Manuscript, mathematical notes on a conversation with physicist John Preskill on quantum theory, including numerous "Feynman diagrams" in text,
FEYNMAN WORKING ON QUARK THEORY. FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. 1918-1988. Autograph Manuscript, mathematical notes on a conversation with physicist John Preskill on quantum theory, including numerous "Feynman diagrams" in text,
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