A Quote by Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac on accuracy, agreement, beauty, confidence, progress, theory, and work

I think that there is a moral to this story, namely that it is more important to have beauty in one's equations that to have them fit experiments. If Schroedinger had been more confident of his work, he could have published it some months earlier, and he could have published a more accurate equation. It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one's equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress. If there is not complete agreement between the results of one's work and experiment, one should not allow oneself to be too discouraged, because the discrepancy may well be due to minor features that are not properly taken into account and that will get cleared up with further development of the theory.

Paul A.M. Dirac (1902 - 1984)

Source: Scientific American, May 1963.

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