Paul Dirac has often been called ‘the first truly modern theoretical physicist’. In later life, he regarded the importance of mathematical beauty in fundamental physics as being 'like a religion' for him.
Yet, he first set out his principle of mathematical beauty only in 1939, several years after the end of his golden creative period, which included his prediction of antimatter.
In this talk, I discuss the origins of Dirac's aesthetic sensibility and take a look at the extraordinary personality of the physicist Niels Bohr once called 'the strangest man'.
Graham Farmelo is a By-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge and winner of the 2009 Costa Biography Prize and the 2010 Los Angeles Times Prize for best Science Book.