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De la déraisonnable efficacité des diagrammes (ON THE UNREASONABLE EFFECTIVENESS OF DIAGRAMS) (L’IRRAGIONEVOLE EFFICACIA DEI DIAGRAMMI)

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On présente des cas concrets où l’utilisation de diagrammes a joué un rôle utile dans des recherches de physiciens théoriciens. Les exemples choisis proviennent soit de travaux de divers spécialistes de gravitation relativiste (notamment, Einstein, Flamm, Hawking, Penrose, Rosen, Ruffini, Wheeler et l’auteur), soit de travaux d’experts en théorie quantique des champs et des cordes (notamment, Feynman, ‘t Hooft, Polchinski, Polyakov, Stueckelberg, et Wilson). Le but essentiel de ces exemples est d’illustrer le pouvoir suggestif et heuristique des diagrammes, autrement dit leur rôle de « multiplicateurs de virtualités », comme disait Gilles Châtelet. Un autre but est de montrer que les diagrammes mènent une vie propre qui est séparée des théories mathématisées du réel : ils peuvent exister avant les théories, et aussi leur survivre, et se réincarner dans le cadre de nouvelles théories physiques (cf. la discussion des diagrammes issus des travaux de Huygens et surtout de Faraday).Concrete cases where the use of diagrams played a useful role in theoretical physics are presented. The selected examples come either from the works of experts in relativistic gravity (notably, Einstein, Flamm, Hawking, Penrose, Rosen, Ruffini, Wheeler and the author), or from the works of experts in quantum field theory and string theory (notably, Feynman, ‘t Hooft, Polchinski, Polyakov, Stueckelberg, and Wilson). The main aim of these examples is to illustrate the suggestive, and heuristic power of diagrams, in other words, their role of « multipliers of potentialities », as wrote Gilles Châtelet. Another aim is to show that diagrams have their own life, separately from physical theories: they can exist before theories, and they can also survive theories, and reincarnate themselves within new theories (see the discussion of diagrams coming from the works of Huygens and Faraday). Presentiamo casi concreti dove l’uso di diagrammi ha avuto una funzione utile nelle ricerche dei fisici teorici. Gli esempi scelti provengono sia dai lavori di diversi specialisti di gravitazione relativista (come Einstein, Flamm, Hawking, Penrose, Rosen, Ruffini, Wheeler e l’autore), sia dai lavori d’esperti in teoria quantistica dei campi o delle stringhe (come Feynman, ‘t Hooft, Polchinski, Polyakov, Stueckelberg, et Wilson). La finalità essenziale di questi esempi è d’illustrare il potere suggestivo ed euristico dei diagrammi, in altre parole la loro funzione di “moltiplicatori di virtualità” come lo formulava Gilles Châtelet. Un altro obiettivo è di mostrare come i diagrammi hanno una vita propria, separata dalle teorie matematizzate del reale: possono esistere prima delle teorie e possono anche sopravvivere a queste teorie, reincarnandosi nell’ambito di nuove teorie fisiche (cf. la discussione dei diagrammi provenienti dai lavori di Huygens e soprattutto di Faraday).This article is in French.

* Thibault Damour, né en1951, est physicien théoricien, professeur permanent à l’Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, expert en gravitation relativiste et cosmologie quantique. Il a publié récemment les articles : Quantum Supersymmetric Cosmological Billiards and their Hidden Kac-Moody Structure (avec Ph. SPINDEL), 2017, Phys. Rev. D 95, p. 126011 ; et Gravitational scattering, post-Minkowskian approximation and Effective One-Body theory, 2016, Phys. Rev. D 94, p. 104015. Adresse : Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, 91440 Bures-sur-Yvette, France ; damour@ihes.fr, www.ihes.fr/damour.
10.1007/s11873-000-0000-11
/content/journals/10.1007/s11873-000-0000-11
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2017-01-09
2018-06-25

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