Glen W. Erickson
Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) calculations were of continuing interest to Professor Erickson. Comparisons with experiment became less a test of QED theory than an indirect measurement of something else. For example, Lamb shift measurements may be considered as determining electromagnetic sizes of nuclei, and in fact provided better rms radii than direct measurements. The role of QED as a base for testing other, less-well-established, theories requires that its calculational precision be continually extended and compared with increasingly accurate measurements. QED predictions continue to match observations through-out a very wide range of orders of magnitude.
His most recent work was on the two-body ("recoil") aspects of the Lamb shift, and took two separate forms. One was a rather non-standard approach to the relativistic two-body problem, which had small but non-zero chance of success. The other was collaborative work with Michael Doncheski and Howard Grotch (Pennsylvania State University), continuing the approach Grotch and Yennie pioneered decades ago. The relativistic two-body problem (Bethe-Salpeter equation) is decidedly non-trivial, as it does not reduce to a simple equivalent one-body problem in center-of-mass coordinates.
- Ph.D. - University of Minnesota, 1960