The wiki article on Dirac quotes Einstein as saying of Dirac

I have trouble with Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful.


I don't understand Dirac at all.

But did Einstein have anything to say about the Dirac equation itself? I remember reading somewhere that he called the Schrodinger equation "a stroke of genius". So surely he must have at least been glad that Dirac had found the special relativistic version of it. Did he offer any insight on what he thought the 4-component wavefunction or the gamma matrices could mean? (I know they have since been elucidated to some degree by the work of e.g. Hestenes.) Any thoughts about anti-matter, spin being an integral part of the wavefunction, or other consequences?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Your two quotes are from two 1926 letters to Paul Ehrenfest which can be found here and here (or here and here in English translation). He is clearly referring to papers by Dirac that he is struggling to understand, not Dirac the person. Wikipedia implies otherwise and should be fixed. (Note that the Dirac equation wasn't derived until 1928.) $\endgroup$
    – benrg
    Oct 15, 2022 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ Pais gives a detailed account of Einstein's reactions to the developments in quantum theory in Einstein and the quantum theory. His familiarity with the subject ended with quantum mechanics, there is no trace of him reacting to quantum field theory in general and Dirac's equation in particular. Even though it was already derived by the time of 1930 Solvay congress, when his debates with Bohr concluded. Dirac's approach was not congenial to Einstein's dream of unified field theory, and shared (to him) the flaws of QM. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Oct 17, 2022 at 7:03


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