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Climbing the MountainThe Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger$
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Jagdish Mehra and Kimball Milton

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198527459

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198527459.001.0001

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Taking the road less traveled

Taking the road less traveled

(p.528) 15 Taking the road less traveled
Climbing the Mountain



Oxford University Press

During his first decade at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Julian Schwinger was actively engaged in recasting high-energy physics into his own language, be it through unconventional interpretations of the psi particles, non-speculative approaches to deep inelastic scattering, or the field theory of magnetic charge. However, the reception to this work was not so favorable. He had already abandoned writing his multivolume Particles, sources, and fields in 1974, precisely at the point where he was to begin dealing with strong and weak interactions. His last deep inelastic scattering paper was submitted in January 1977, while his sole foray into supersymmetry was submitted in September 1978. His final publication on synchrotron radiation appeared in 1978. So it may be fair to say that the hostility toward source theory pushed him out of the mainstream, and into projects where his still formidable strengths could make an impact. There are four well-defined themes that occupied the final two decades of his life: the Casimir effect and Schwinger's attempt to explain it in terms of source theory, the statistical (or Thomas-Fermi) atom, cold fusion, and sonoluminescence.

Keywords:   Casimir effect, cold fusion, sonoluminescence, Thomas-Fermi atom, source theory

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