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A tool of elegance and great power for physicists...

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/07/1981
Issue number5822
Number of pages1
Pages (from-to)480-480
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When George Green, miller and part-time theoretical physicist, died in 1841 at the early age of 47 the Nottingllam Review commented regretfully that "...had his life been prolonged, he might have stood eminently high as a mathematician". Little did they realize. During his brief but remarkably productive twelve-year spell of scientific activity, starting with "An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism* (published privately in 1828), Green had introduced the concept of electric potential, had carried out work of fundamental importance in wave theory and hydrodynamics and had laid the foundations for modern theories of elasticity. Notwithstanding this substantial contribution, however, and despite his acknowledged influence on both Stokes and Kelvin, Green's memory remained relatively obscure until more than a century after his death, when R.P. Feynman took up ome of the techniques introduced by Green, and developed them for application to nuclear physics and the theory of elementary particles. The use of Green's function methods has subsequently spread through the rest of physics including, particularly, solid state physics.

Bibliographic note

Reviews of "Green's Functions and Condensed Matter" by G. Rickayzen (Pp.357 ISBN 0-12-587950-4, Academic, 1980) and "Many-Particle Physics" by G.O. Mahan (Pp. 1003 ISBN 0-306-4041l-7, Plenum: 1981).