Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 2 entries for this date: Paul Dirac and Tom Brazaitis
Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac

On this date in 1902, Paul Dirac, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was born in Bristol, England. Dirac received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 1921 and his Master's in mathematics in 1923, both from the University of Bristol. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1926, studying quantum mechanics and the theory of general relativity. He introduced an equation in 1928 which became known as the Dirac Equation. His equation, along with many other advances, implied the existence of antimatter. Dirac and Erwin Schrodinger won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1933 for “the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”

Dirac married Margit Wigner in 1937, and they had four children. He was known for being extremely modest — he tended to name his discoveries after others instead of himself. He chose to give all of the proceeds from his book Directions in Physics (1978), to create a lecture series at the University of New South Wales. He was a faculty member at the University of Cambridge, where he held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics, at the University of Miami, and at Florida State University.

A memorial for Dirac was unveiled in 1995 in Westminster Abbey. The Dean of Westminster, Edward Carpenter, had initially refused to allow the memorial to be created, calling Dirac “anti-Christian,” but relented after five years.

Along with receiving the Nobel Prize, he also won the Copley Medal in 1952, and the Max Planck Medal in 1952, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1930. Many awards have been named after Dirac, including the Paul Dirac Medal and Prize awarded by the Institute of Physics, of which Stephen Hawking has been a recipient. Paul Dirac has been remembered as one of the world's greatest physicists. D. 1984.

“If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet.”

—Excerpt of Dirac's criticism of the political purposes of religion at the Oct. 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference

Compiled by Sarah Eucalano

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Tom Brazaitis

Tom Brazaitis

On this date in 1940, Tom Brazaitis was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended John Carroll University on a basketball scholarship in 1962, where he became captain of the basketball team as well as sports editor of the student newspaper The Carroll News. Brazaitis worked as a political journalist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1971 until 2002, becoming senior editor in 1998. Brazaitis was chief of The Plain Dealer’s Washington bureau for 19 years, covering such important events as President Nixon’s impeachment hearings. He wrote a syndicated column for over 20 years that was published in numerous papers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Newark Star-Ledger. He married influential political journalist Eleanor Clift in 1989, and the couple collaborated on two books, War Without Bloodshed (1997) and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling (2000). Brazaitis died on March 30, 2005, of kidney cancer. His battle with cancer was detailed in Clift’s book Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics (2008).

In a 2008 speech given by Clift at the 31st annual national FFRF convention, Clift described her late husband as “a card-carrying member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.” She recalled in Two Weeks of Life: “Tom drifted away from his faith and in recent years called himself an atheist.” D. 2005

“[Tom Brazaitis] was a fallen-away Catholic who in the last years of his life proudly embraced atheism. And he did not flinch those last few months [of his life].” 

—Eleanor Clift, speech at the 31st annual FFRF convention, 2008

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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