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Quantum Electrodynamics by Gunnar Kallen
Quantum Electrodynamics by Gunnar Kallen
Date: 21 April 2011, 11:13

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GUNNAR KALLEN was a proud continuer of the tradition in
quantum field theory established by WOLFGANG PAULI. His papers
on quantum electrodynamics in the period 1950—1954 carried the
non-perturbative approach to quantum electrodynamics forward to
a point beyond which very little essential progress has been made
up to the present day. I still remember the impact of the Helvetica
Physica Acta paper of 1953. At that time I was trying to puzzle
out the grammar of the language of quantum field theory, and here
was KALLEN already writing poetry in the language! The paper
was followed by another, equally remarkable (Dan. Vid. Selsk.
1953). Even though we still do not know the answers to the main
questions it tackles, its power and skill are overwhelming. For thespecial
purposes at hand, it introduces techniques which have beenconverted into
burgeoning industries in the decade and a half that
have since elapsed.
It is perhaps ironical that the demands of the problem of proving
the existence or non-existence of solutions in quantum electro-
dynamics led KALLEN to mathematical problems of great difficulty
that he would not have found attractive at all in their own right.
The tenacity and percipicacity he showed in pursuit of their solu-
tions was really fantastic as coworkers such as JOHN TOLL and I
can testify.
In the 1960's he spent an increasing fraction of his time on the
phenomenology of elementary particles. A by-product of this was
his book "Elementary Particle Physics". A typical remark about
the book was: "That is the book on elementary particles the ex-
perimentalists really find helpful". Those of us who knew him
expected that.


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