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This is an ultra-soft question about relatively recent history. While reading some of Mandelstam's papers, I noticed that he cites David John Candlin consistenly whenever he does anything with Grassman path-integral. Everyone else cites Berezin.

So I read Candlin's 1956 paper, and I was stunned to find a complete and correct description of anticommuting variables, presented more lucidly than anywhere else, with a clear definition of Grassman integration, and a proof that it reproduces the Fermionic quantum field. This is clearly the original source of all the Grassman methods. I was stunned that the inventor of this method is quietly buried away.

I wrote the Wikipedia page on the guy, but I couldn't find out anything beyond the sketchy stuff I found on an old Princeton staff listing. The fellow doesn't google very well at all.

Here are the questions:

  • Is he still alive? (Hello? Are you there?)
  • Did he become the experimental physicist David John Candlin in the late 1970s/early 1980s? Or is this someone else with the same name?
  • Did he get any credit for his discovery?

I mean, this is one of the central tools of modern physics, it is used every day by every theorist, and the inventor is never mentioned. It's 50% of the path integral. Why the silence?

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1 Answer 1

I googled a little bit a while ago, and found him. I didn't get any insights into the history of this discovery, he didn't respond to my email. The person I contacted in order to reach him was eventually so offended by my rude email questions that he told me to buzz off. I am only posting this because the guy obviously wants his privacy, and one should respect this. I saw the bounty, and thought people are going to pester this guy in retirement.

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I just wanted people to know. Do what you want, it doesn't matter, but I am pretty sure he doesn't want to be bothered. I don't know why, I never talked to him. He might not be well, I don't know. –  Ron Maimon Jul 23 '13 at 11:29
I believe this person called Rosemary Candlin is his wife? She does mention David and says that he did physics. ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Oral-History:Rosemary_Candlin It matches with the following profile at Institute for Advanced Study ias.edu/people/cos/users/7155 –  mehfoos Jul 23 '13 at 12:35
Was your email RUDE? This part i dont understand. –  Asphir Dom Jul 23 '13 at 13:22
The first email wasn't rude at all, I was just trying to know if it's the guy. Once I knew it was him, I asked the fellow about priority, you know, who was cribbing who, and the fellow I was talking to thought I was completely out of line talking that way. –  Ron Maimon Jul 23 '13 at 14:12

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