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The Attempted Proof of the Spin-Statistics Theorem
by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman was born in Queens district New York City in 1918. Growing up in Queens he acquired a Bronx accent that gave him a down-to-Earth demeanor throughout life. In high school he taught himself advanced mathematics. He attended M.I.T. as an undergraduate and received his bachelor's degree in 1939. He entered Princeton University for his graduate work in mathematical physics. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1942 and went to work on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico for developing the atomic bomb.

After the war he joined the faculty at Cornell Univeristy in Ithaca, New York but left in 1950 to become part of the faculty at Cal Tech in Pasdena, California. He was responsible for major, major developments in physics and in 1965 shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-ItiroTomonaga.

With Richard Feynman being one of the top theorists of physics and the Spin-Statistics Theorem being of such great importance in explaining the nature of the world it was only natural that Feynman should try his hand at proving the Spin-Statistics Theorem. However his approach was so unusually that it seems that it was found by accident rather than by search.

What Feynman found was that when the value of the probabilities when calculated for the two types of particles using the "wrong" statisitics were greater than one. Thus Bose-Einstein statistics could not be used with particles of half-integral spin and Fermi-Dirac could not be used with particles with intergral spin.

Feynman's contributions to the proof of the Spin-Statistics Theorem are contained in two articles in Physical Review in 1949. One was entitled The Theory of Positrons and Space-Time Approach to Quantum Electrodynamics,.

(To be continued.)


Ian Duck and E.C.G. Sudarshan, Pauli and the Spin-Statistics Theorem,, World Scientific, Singapore, 1997.

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