Quantum electrodynamics (QED) can explain most of our everyday experiences, oddly enough. QED describes the interaction of matter particles with each other and with light — so that’s pretty much everything. QED won the Nobel Prize for Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. In order to represent the interactions QED describes, Feynman had to develop a whole new way to diagram particles. Here’s more from Science Focus:
Each diagram combines a series of lines where, for example, straight lines represent matter particles and wavy lines are photons. These are patterns in space-time, but they represent the interaction of particles. A simple example might show two electrons repelling each other electromagnetically, with a photon passing between them as a force carrier.
Feynman’s diagrams were necessary to reflect the strange behaviour of quantum particles, which bears no resemblance to the action of the physical objects that are made up of them. To see why the diagrams were so significant, we need to take a step back to what makes quantum physics appear so bizarre.
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