Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman

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Richard Phillips Feynman (icon; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 known for his work in the path integral formulation
Path integral formulation
The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics is a description of quantum theory which generalizes the action principle of classical mechanics...

 of quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

, the theory of quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity is achieved...

 and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium
Liquid helium
Helium exists in liquid form only at extremely low temperatures. The boiling point and critical point depend on the isotope of the helium; see the table below for values. The density of liquid helium-4 at its boiling point and 1 atmosphere is approximately 0.125 g/mL Helium-4 was first liquefied...

, as well as in particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

 (he proposed the parton
Parton (particle physics)
In particle physics, the parton model was proposed by Richard Feynman in 1969 as a way to analyze high-energy hadron collisions. It was later recognized that partons describe the same objects now more commonly referred to as quarks and gluons...

 model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger
Julian Schwinger
Julian Seymour Schwinger was an American theoretical physicist. He is best known for his work on the theory of quantum electrodynamics, in particular for developing a relativistically invariant perturbation theory, and for renormalizing QED to one loop order.Schwinger is recognized as one of the...

 and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga
Sin-Itiro Tomonaga
was a Japanese physicist, influential in the development of quantum electrodynamics, work for which he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 along with Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger.-Biography:...

, received the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particle
Subatomic particle
In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...

s, which later became known as Feynman diagram
Feynman diagram
Feynman diagrams are a pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, first developed by the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Richard Feynman, and first introduced in 1948...

s. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world.

He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb and was a member of the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept of nanotechnology
Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

. He held the Richard Chace Tolman professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

ship in theoretical physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 at the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

.

Feynman was a keen popularizer of physics through both books and lectures, notably a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom is the title of a lecture given by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech on December 29, 1959...

and The Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a 1964 physics textbook by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands, based upon the lectures given by Feynman to undergraduate students at the California Institute of Technology in 1961–63. It includes lectures on mathematics, electromagnetism,...

. Feynman also became known through his semi-autobiographical books (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, covers a variety of instances in Feynman's life...

and What Do You Care What Other People Think?
What Do You Care What Other People Think?
"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character is the second of two books consisting of transcribed and edited oral reminiscences from American physicist Richard Feynman. It follows Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!The book presents his life as a series of...

) and books written about him, such as Tuva or Bust!

Feynman was the first to introduce the fields of quantum computing
Quantum computer
A quantum computer is a device for computation that makes direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Quantum computers are different from traditional computers based on transistors...

, as well as nanotechnology
Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

. He also had a deep interest in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, and was a friend of the geneticist
Geneticist
A geneticist is a biologist who studies genetics, the science of genes, heredity, and variation of organisms. A geneticist can be employed as a researcher or lecturer. Some geneticists perform experiments and analyze data to interpret the inheritance of skills. A geneticist is also a Consultant or...

 and microbiologist
Microbiologist
A microbiologist is a scientist who works in the field of microbiology. Microbiologists study organisms called microbes. Microbes can take the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protists...

 Esther Lederberg
Esther Lederberg
Esther Miriam Zimmer Lederberg was an American microbiologist and immunologist and pioneer of bacterial genetics...

, who developed replica plating
Replica plating
In molecular biology and microbiology, replica plating is a technique in which one or more secondary Petri plates containing different solid selective growth media are inoculated with the same colonies of microorganisms from a primary plate , reproducing the original spatial...

 and discovered bacteriophage lambda. They had several mutual physicist friends who, after beginning their careers in nuclear research, moved into genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, among them Max Delbruck
Max Delbrück
Max Ludwig Henning Delbrück was a German-American biophysicist and Nobel laureate.-Biography:Delbrück was born in Berlin, German Empire...

 and Aaron Novick
Aaron Novick
Aaron Novick was a member of the Manhattan Project.Novick completed his doctorate in physical organic chemistry at the University of Chicago. There he joined the project, and proceeded to Hanford, Washington, where he helped produce plutonium. He witnessed the Trinity experiment...

.

Early life


Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918, in Far Rockaway, Queens
Far Rockaway, Queens
Far Rockaway is a neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula in the New York City borough of Queens in the United States. It is the easternmost section of the Rockaways. The neighborhood starts at the Nassau County line and extends west to Beach 32nd Street. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community...

, New York. His family originated from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

; both of his parents were Jewish
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. They were not religious and by his youth Feynman described himself as an "avowed atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

". Feynman (in common with the famous physicist Edward Teller
Edward Teller
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy , and surface physics...

) was a late talker
Language delay
Language delay is a failure to develop language abilities on the usual developmental timetable. Language delay is distinct from speech delay, in which the speech mechanism itself is the focus of delay...

; by his third birthday he had yet to utter a single word. The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, Melville, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking. From his mother, Lucille, he gained the sense of humor that he had throughout his life. As a child, he delighted in repairing radios and had a talent for engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. His younger sister Joan
Joan Feynman
Joan Feynman , the sister of Richard Feynman, is an astrophysicist who made original studies of the interactions between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. While working at the NASA Ames Research Center in 1971, Feynman showed that coronal mass ejections could be identified by the...

 also became a professional physicist.

Education


In high school, his IQ
Intelligence quotient
An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. When modern IQ tests are constructed, the mean score within an age group is set to 100 and the standard deviation to 15...

 was determined to be 125—high, but "merely respectable" according to biographer James Gleick
James Gleick
James Gleick is an American author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology...

. Feynman later scoffed at psychometric testing
Psychometrics
Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational measurement...

. By 15, he had learned differential
Differential calculus
In mathematics, differential calculus is a subfield of calculus concerned with the study of the rates at which quantities change. It is one of the two traditional divisions of calculus, the other being integral calculus....

 and integral calculus. Before entering college, he was experimenting with and re-creating mathematical topics, such as the half-derivative, utilizing his own notation. In high school, he was developing the mathematical intuition behind his Taylor series
Taylor series
In mathematics, a Taylor series is a representation of a function as an infinite sum of terms that are calculated from the values of the function's derivatives at a single point....

 of mathematical operators.

His habit of direct characterization sometimes rattled more conventional thinkers; for example, one of his questions when learning feline anatomy was "Do you have a map of the cat?" (referring to an anatomical chart).

Feynman attended Far Rockaway High School
Far Rockaway High School
Far Rockaway High School, a public high school in the public school system of New York City, was located on Bay 25 Street in Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens, as part of the New York City Department of Education. The school was founded in 1897, with Sanford J. Ellsworth as principal for over...

, a school that also produced fellow laureates Burton Richter
Burton Richter
Burton Richter is a Nobel Prize-winning American physicist. He led the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center team which co-discovered the J/ψ meson in 1974, alongside the Brookhaven National Laboratory team led by Samuel Ting. This discovery was part of the so-called November Revolution of particle...

 and Baruch Samuel Blumberg
Baruch Samuel Blumberg
Baruch Samuel "Barry" Blumberg was an American doctor and co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine , and the President of the American Philosophical Society from 2005 until his death.Blumberg received the Nobel Prize for "discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin...

. A member of the Arista Honor Society, in his last year in high school, Feynman won the New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 Math Championship; the large difference between his score and those of his closest competitors shocked the judges.

He applied to Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, but was not accepted. Instead he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, where he received a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in 1939, and in the same year was named a Putnam Fellow. While there, Feynman took every physics course offered, including a graduate course on theoretical physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 while only in his second year.

He obtained a perfect score on the graduate school entrance exams to Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 in mathematics and physics—an unprecedented feat—but did rather poorly on the history and English portions. Attendees at Feynman's first seminar included Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Wolfgang Pauli
Wolfgang Pauli
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was an Austrian theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after being nominated by Albert Einstein, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or...

, and John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

. He received a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 from Princeton in 1942; his thesis advisor was John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist who was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission...

. Feynman's thesis applied the principle of stationary action to problems of quantum mechanics, inspired by a desire to quantize the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory of electrodynamics, laying the groundwork for the "path integral
Path integral formulation
The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics is a description of quantum theory which generalizes the action principle of classical mechanics...

" approach and Feynman diagrams, and was entitled "The Principle of Least Action in Quantum Mechanics".

The Manhattan Project



At Princeton, the physicist Robert R. Wilson
Robert R. Wilson
Robert Rathbun Wilson was an American physicist who was a group leader of the Manhattan Project, a sculptor, and an architect of Fermi National Laboratory , where he was also the director from 1967–1978....

 encouraged Feynman to participate in the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

—the wartime U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 project at Los Alamos
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

 developing the atomic bomb. Feynman said he was persuaded to join this effort to build it before Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 developed their own bomb.

He was assigned to Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe
Hans Albrecht Bethe was a German-American nuclear physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. A versatile theoretical physicist, Bethe also made important contributions to quantum electrodynamics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics and...

's theoretical division, and impressed Bethe enough to be made a group leader. He and Bethe developed the Bethe–Feynman formula
Bethe–Feynman formula
The Bethe-Feynman efficiency formula, a simple method for calculating the yield of a fission bomb, was first derived in 1943 after development in 1942...

 for calculating the yield of a fission bomb
Nuclear weapon design
Nuclear weapon designs are physical, chemical, and engineering arrangements that cause the physics package of a nuclear weapon to detonate. There are three basic design types...

, which built upon previous work by Robert Serber
Robert Serber
Robert Serber was an American physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; he was the eldest son of David Serber and Rose Frankel. He married Charlotte Leof in 1933. Rose Serber died in 1922; David married Charlotte's cousin Frances Leof in...

.

He immersed himself in work on the project, and was present at the Trinity bomb test. Feynman claimed to be the only person to see the explosion without the very dark glasses or welder's lenses provided, reasoning that it was safe to look through a truck windshield, as it would screen out the harmful ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 radiation.

As a junior physicist, he was not central to the project. The greater part of his work was administering the computation group of human computer
Human computer
The term "computer", in use from the mid 17th century, meant "one who computes": a person performing mathematical calculations, before electronic computers became commercially available....

s in the Theoretical division (one of his students there, John G. Kemeny, later went on to co-write the computer language BASIC
BASIC
BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use - the name is an acronym from Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code....

). Later, with Nicholas Metropolis
Nicholas Metropolis
Nicholas Constantine Metropolis was a Greek American physicist.-Work:Metropolis received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in physics at the University of Chicago...

, he assisted in establishing the system for using IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 punched card
Punched card
A punched card, punch card, IBM card, or Hollerith card is a piece of stiff paper that contains digital information represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions...

s for computation. Feynman succeeded in solving one of the equations for the project that were posted on the blackboards. However, they did not "do the physics right" and Feynman's solution was not used.

Feynman's other work at Los Alamos included calculating neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

 equations for the Los Alamos "Water Boiler", a small nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

, to measure how close an assembly of fissile material was to criticality. On completing this work he was transferred to the Oak Ridge
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy by UT-Battelle. ORNL is the DOE's largest science and energy laboratory. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville...

 facility, where he aided engineers in devising safety procedures for material storage so that criticality accident
Criticality accident
A criticality accident, sometimes referred to as an excursion or a power excursion, is an accidental increase of nuclear chain reactions in a fissile material, such as enriched uranium or plutonium...

s (for example, due to sub-critical amounts of fissile material inadvertently stored in proximity on opposite sides of a wall) could be avoided. He also did theoretical work and calculations on the proposed uranium hydride bomb
Uranium hydride bomb
The uranium hydride bomb was a variant design of the atomic bomb, that was first suggested by Robert Oppenheimer in 1939 and advocated and tested by Edward Teller. It used deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, as a neutron moderator in a U235-deuterium compound. The chain reaction is a slow nuclear...

, which later proved not to be feasible.

Feynman was sought out by physicist Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
Niels Henrik David Bohr was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in...

 for one-on-one discussions. He later discovered the reason: most physicists were too in awe of Bohr to argue with him. Feynman had no such inhibitions, vigorously pointing out anything he considered to be flawed in Bohr's thinking. Feynman said he felt as much respect for Bohr as anyone else, but once anyone got him talking about physics, he would become so focused he forgot about social niceties.

Due to the top secret nature of the work, Los Alamos
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

 was isolated. In Feynman's own words, "There wasn't anything to do there". Bored, he indulged his curiosity by learning to pick the combination locks on cabinets and desks used to secure papers. Feynman played many jokes on colleagues. In one case he found the combination to a locked filing cabinet by trying the numbers a physicist would use (it proved to be 27–18–28 after the base of natural logarithm
Natural logarithm
The natural logarithm is the logarithm to the base e, where e is an irrational and transcendental constant approximately equal to 2.718281828...

s, e = 2.71828...), and found that the three filing cabinets where a colleague kept a set of atomic bomb research notes all had the same combination. He left a series of notes as a prank, which initially spooked his colleague, Frederic de Hoffman, into thinking a spy or saboteur had gained access to atomic bomb secrets. On several occasions, Feynman drove to Albuquerque to see his ailing wife in a car borrowed from Klaus Fuchs
Klaus Fuchs
Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who in 1950 was convicted of supplying information from the American, British and Canadian atomic bomb research to the USSR during and shortly after World War II...

, who was later discovered to be a real spy for the Soviets, transporting nuclear secrets in his car to Santa Fe.

On occasion, Feynman would find an isolated section of the mesa
Mesa
A mesa or table mountain is an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape....

 to drum in the style of American native
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

s; "and maybe I would dance and chant, a little". These antics did not go unnoticed, and rumors spread about a mysterious Indian drummer called "Injun Joe". He also became a friend of laboratory head J. Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Oppenheimer
Julius Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first...

, who unsuccessfully tried to court him away from his other commitments after the war to work at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

.

Feynman alludes to his thoughts on the justification for getting involved in the Manhattan project in The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a collection of short works from American physicist Richard Feynman, including interviews, speeches, lectures, and printed articles...

. As mentioned earlier, he felt the possibility of Nazi Germany developing the bomb before the Allies was a compelling reason to help with its development for the US. However, he goes on to say that it was an error on his part not to reconsider the situation when Germany was defeated. In the same publication, Feynman also talks about his worries in the atomic bomb age, feeling for some considerable time that there was a high risk that the bomb would be used again soon so that it was pointless to build for the future. Later he describes this period as a "depression."

Early academic career


Following the completion of his Ph.D. in 1942, Feynman held an appointment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

 as an assistant professor of physics. The appointment was spent on leave for his involvement in the Manhattan project. In 1945, he received a letter from Dean Mark Ingraham of the College of Letters and Science requesting his return to UW to teach in the coming academic year. His appointment was not extended when he did not commit to return. In a talk given several years later at UW, Feynman quipped, "It's great to be back at the only university that ever had the good sense to fire me".

After the war, Feynman declined an offer from the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

 in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, despite the presence there of such distinguished faculty members as Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the...

, and John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

. Feynman followed Hans Bethe, instead, to Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, where Feynman taught theoretical physics from 1945 to 1950. During a temporary depression following the destruction of Hiroshima
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 by the bomb produced by the Manhattan Project, he focused on complex physics problems, not for utility, but for self-satisfaction. One of these was analyzing the physics of a twirling, nutating
Nutation
Nutation is a rocking, swaying, or nodding motion in the axis of rotation of a largely axially symmetric object, such as a gyroscope, planet, or bullet in flight, or as an intended behavior of a mechanism...

 dish as it is moving through the air. His work during this period, which used equations of rotation to express various spinning speeds, soon proved important to his Nobel Prize-winning work. Yet because he felt burned out, and had turned his attention to less immediately practical but more entertaining problems, he felt surprised by the offers of professorships from renowned universities.

Despite yet another offer from the Institute for Advanced Study, Feynman rejected the Institute on the grounds that there were no teaching duties: Feynman felt that students were a source of inspiration and teaching a diversion during uncreative spells. Because of this, the Institute for Advanced study and Princeton University jointly offered him a package whereby he could teach at the university and also be at the Institute. That he also turned this down suggests the effects of his depression. (see Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!). Somewhat later, feeling better, Feynman accepted an offer from the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

 (Caltech)— and as he says in his book Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!—because a desire to live in a mild climate had firmly fixed itself in his mind while installing tire chains on his car in the middle of a snowstorm in Ithaca
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

.

Feynman has been called the "Great Explainer". He gained a reputation for taking great care when giving explanations to his students and for making it a moral duty to make the topic accessible. His guiding principle was that if a topic could not be explained in a freshman
Freshman
A freshman or fresher is a first-year student in secondary school, high school, or college. The term first year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves A freshman (US) or fresher (UK, India) (or sometimes fish, freshie, fresher; slang plural frosh or freshmeat) is a...

 lecture, it was not yet fully understood. Feynman gained great pleasure from coming up with such a "freshman-level" explanation, for example, of the connection between spin
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

 and statistics. What he said was that groups of particles with spin 1/2 "repel", whereas groups with integer spin "clump." This was a brilliantly simplified way of demonstrating how Fermi–Dirac statistics and Bose–Einstein statistics
Bose–Einstein statistics
In statistical mechanics, Bose–Einstein statistics determines the statistical distribution of identical indistinguishable bosons over the energy states in thermal equilibrium.-Concept:...

 evolved as a consequence of studying how fermion
Fermion
In particle physics, a fermion is any particle which obeys the Fermi–Dirac statistics . Fermions contrast with bosons which obey Bose–Einstein statistics....

s and boson
Boson
In particle physics, bosons are subatomic particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics. Several bosons can occupy the same quantum state. The word boson derives from the name of Satyendra Nath Bose....

s behave under a rotation of 360°. This was also a question he pondered in his more advanced lectures and to which he demonstrated the solution in the 1986 Dirac memorial lecture. In the same lecture, he further explained that antiparticles must exist, for if particles only had positive energies, they would not be restricted to a so-called "light cone
Light cone
A light cone is the path that a flash of light, emanating from a single event and traveling in all directions, would take through spacetime...

."

He opposed rote learning or unthinking memorization and other teaching methods that emphasized form over function. He put these opinions into action whenever he could, from a conference on education in Brazil to a State Commission on school textbook selection. Clear thinking and clear presentation were fundamental prerequisites for his attention. It could be perilous even to approach him when unprepared, and he did not forget the fools or pretenders.

During one sabbatical year, he returned to Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

's Principia Mathematica
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Sir Isaac Newton, first published 5 July 1687. Newton also published two further editions, in 1713 and 1726...

to study it anew; what he learned from Newton, he passed along to his students, such as Newton's attempted explanation of diffraction
Diffraction
Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word "diffraction" and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1665...

.

Caltech years


Feynman did significant work while at Caltech, including research in:
  • Quantum electrodynamics
    Quantum electrodynamics
    Quantum electrodynamics is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity is achieved...

    . The theory for which Feynman won his Nobel Prize
    Nobel Prize
    The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

     is known for its accurate prediction
    Prediction
    A prediction or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge...

    s. This theory was begun in the earlier years during Feynman's work at Princeton as a graduate student and continued while he was at Cornell. This work consisted of two distinct formulations, and it is a common error to confuse them or to merge them into one. The first is his path integral formulation
    Path integral formulation
    The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics is a description of quantum theory which generalizes the action principle of classical mechanics...

    , and the second is his Feynman diagrams. Both formulations contained his sum over histories method in which every possible path from one state to the next is considered, the final path being a sum over the possibilities (also referred to as sum-over-paths.) For a number of years he lectured to students at Caltech on his path integral formulation of quantum theory. The lecture notes have recently been reedited by Daniel F. Styer and published as a Dover paperback. Not only did Styer correct several hundred typographical and other minor errors, but he included many footnotes explaining, for example, several places where the author used heuristic or plausible reasoning. The second formulation of quantum electrodynamics (using Feynman diagrams) was specifically mentioned by the Nobel committee. The logical connection with the path integral formulation is interesting. Feynman did not prove that the rules for his diagrams followed mathematically from the path integral formulation. Some special cases were later proved by other people, but only in the real case, so the proofs don't work when spin is involved. The second formulation should be thought of as starting anew, but guided by the intuitive insight provided by the first formulation. Freeman Dyson
    Freeman Dyson
    Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

     published a paper in 1949 which, among many other things, added new rules to Feynman's which told how to actually implement Renormalization
    Renormalization
    In quantum field theory, the statistical mechanics of fields, and the theory of self-similar geometric structures, renormalization is any of a collection of techniques used to treat infinities arising in calculated quantities....

    . Students everywhere learned and used the powerful new tool that Feynman had created. Eventually computer programs were written to compute Feynman diagrams, providing a tool of unprecedented power. It is possible to write such programs because the Feynman diagrams constitute a Formal language
    Formal language
    A formal language is a set of words—that is, finite strings of letters, symbols, or tokens that are defined in the language. The set from which these letters are taken is the alphabet over which the language is defined. A formal language is often defined by means of a formal grammar...

     with a grammar
    Formal grammar
    A formal grammar is a set of formation rules for strings in a formal language. The rules describe how to form strings from the language's alphabet that are valid according to the language's syntax...

    .

  • Physics of the superfluid
    Superfluid
    Superfluidity is a state of matter in which the matter behaves like a fluid without viscosity and with extremely high thermal conductivity. The substance, which appears to be a normal liquid, will flow without friction past any surface, which allows it to continue to circulate over obstructions and...

    ity of supercooled liquid helium
    Helium
    Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

    , where helium seems to display a complete lack of viscosity
    Viscosity
    Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

     when flowing. Applying the Schrödinger equation
    Schrödinger equation
    The Schrödinger equation was formulated in 1926 by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Used in physics , it is an equation that describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time....

     to the question showed that the superfluid was displaying quantum mechanical behavior observable on a macroscopic scale. This helped with the problem of superconductivity
    Superconductivity
    Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance occurring in certain materials below a characteristic temperature. It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes on April 8, 1911 in Leiden. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum...

    ; however, the solution eluded Feynman. It was solved with the BCS theory
    BCS theory
    BCS theory — proposed by Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer in 1957 — is the first microscopic theory of superconductivity since its discovery in 1911. The theory describes superconductivity as a microscopic effect caused by a "condensation" of pairs of electrons into a boson-like state...

     of superconductivity, proposed by John Bardeen
    John Bardeen
    John Bardeen was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a...

    , Leon Neil Cooper, and John Robert Schrieffer
    John Robert Schrieffer
    John Robert Schrieffer is an American physicist and, with John Bardeen and Leon N Cooper, recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize for Physics for developing the BCS theory, the first successful microscopic theory of superconductivity.-Biography:...

    .

  • A model of weak decay, which showed that the current coupling in the process is a combination of vector and axial currents (an example of weak decay is the decay of a neutron
    Neutron
    The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

     into an electron
    Electron
    The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

    , a proton
    Proton
    The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

    , and an anti-neutrino
    Neutrino
    A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a half-integer spin, chirality and a disputed but small non-zero mass. It is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected...

    ). Although E. C. George Sudarshan and Robert Marshak
    Robert Marshak
    Robert Eugene Marshak was an American physicist dedicated to learning, research, and education.-History:...

     developed the theory nearly simultaneously, Feynman's collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann
    Murray Gell-Mann
    Murray Gell-Mann is an American physicist and linguist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles...

     was seen as seminal because the weak interaction
    Weak interaction
    Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

     was neatly described by the vector and axial currents. It thus combined the 1933 beta decay
    Beta decay
    In nuclear physics, beta decay is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle is emitted from an atom. There are two types of beta decay: beta minus and beta plus. In the case of beta decay that produces an electron emission, it is referred to as beta minus , while in the case of a...

     theory of Enrico Fermi
    Enrico Fermi
    Enrico Fermi was an Italian-born, naturalized American physicist particularly known for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics...

     with an explanation of parity
    Parity (physics)
    In physics, a parity transformation is the flip in the sign of one spatial coordinate. In three dimensions, it is also commonly described by the simultaneous flip in the sign of all three spatial coordinates:...

     violation.


He also developed Feynman diagram
Feynman diagram
Feynman diagrams are a pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, first developed by the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Richard Feynman, and first introduced in 1948...

s, a bookkeeping device which helps in conceptualizing and calculating interactions between particles
Elementary particle
In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure; that is, it is not known to be made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic building blocks of the universe from which...

 in spacetime
Spacetime
In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum. Spacetime is usually interpreted with space as being three-dimensional and time playing the role of a fourth dimension that is of a different sort from the spatial dimensions...

, notably the interactions between electrons and their antimatter
Antimatter
In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles...

 counterparts, positron
Positron
The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1e, a spin of ½, and has the same mass as an electron...

s. This device allowed him, and later others, to approach time reversibility and other fundamental processes. Feynman's mental picture for these diagrams started with the hard sphere approximation, and the interactions could be thought of as collisions at first. It was not until decades later that physicists thought of analyzing the nodes of the Feynman diagrams more closely. Feynman famously painted Feynman diagrams on the exterior of his van.

From his diagrams of a small number of particles interacting in spacetime, Feynman could then model all of physics in terms of those particles' spins
Spin (physics)
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is a fundamental characteristic property of elementary particles, composite particles , and atomic nuclei.It is worth noting that the intrinsic property of subatomic particles called spin and discussed in this article, is related in some small ways,...

 and the range of coupling of the fundamental forces. Feynman attempted an explanation of the strong interaction
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

s governing nucleons scattering called the parton
Parton (particle physics)
In particle physics, the parton model was proposed by Richard Feynman in 1969 as a way to analyze high-energy hadron collisions. It was later recognized that partons describe the same objects now more commonly referred to as quarks and gluons...

 model. The parton model emerged as a complement to the quark
Quark
A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

 model developed by his Caltech colleague Murray Gell-Mann. The relationship between the two models was murky; Gell-Mann referred to Feynman's partons derisively as "put-ons". In the mid 1960s, physicists believed that quarks were just a bookkeeping device for symmetry numbers, not real particles, as the statistics of the Omega-minus particle, if it were interpreted as three identical strange quarks bound together, seemed impossible if quarks were real. The Stanford linear accelerator deep inelastic scattering
Deep Inelastic Scattering
Deep inelastic scattering is the name given to a process used to probe the insides of hadrons , using electrons, muons and neutrinos. It provided the first convincing evidence of the reality of quarks, which up until that point had been considered by many to be a purely mathematical phenomenon...

 experiments of the late 1960s showed, analogously to Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM, FRS was a New Zealand-born British chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics...

's experiment of scattering alpha particles on gold nuclei in 1911, that nucleon
Nucleon
In physics, a nucleon is a collective name for two particles: the neutron and the proton. These are the two constituents of the atomic nucleus. Until the 1960s, the nucleons were thought to be elementary particles...

s (protons and neutrons) contained point-like particles which scattered electrons. It was natural to identify these with quarks, but Feynman's parton model attempted to interpret the experimental data in a way which did not introduce additional hypotheses. For example, the data showed that some 45% of the energy momentum was carried by electrically neutral particles in the nucleon. These electrically neutral particles are now seen to be the gluon
Gluon
Gluons are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles....

s which carry the forces between the quarks and carry also the three-valued color quantum number which solves the Omega-minus problem. Feynman did not dispute the quark model; for example, when the fifth quark was discovered in 1977, Feynman immediately pointed out to his students that the discovery implied the existence of a sixth quark, which was duly discovered in the decade after his death.

After the success of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman turned to quantum gravity
Quantum gravity
Quantum gravity is the field of theoretical physics which attempts to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics with general relativity...

. By analogy with the photon, which has spin 1, he investigated the consequences of a free massless spin 2 field, and was able to derive the Einstein field equation of general relativity, but little more. However, the computational device that Feynman discovered then for gravity, "ghosts", which are "particles" in the interior of his diagrams which have the "wrong" connection between spin and statistics, have proved invaluable in explaining the quantum particle behavior of the Yang–Mills
Yang–Mills
Yang–Mills theory is a gauge theory based on the SU group. Wolfgang Pauli formulated in 1953 the first consistent generalization of the five-dimensional theory of Kaluza, Klein, Fock and others to a higher dimensional internal space...

 theories, for example QCD
Quantum chromodynamics
In theoretical physics, quantum chromodynamics is a theory of the strong interaction , a fundamental force describing the interactions of the quarks and gluons making up hadrons . It is the study of the SU Yang–Mills theory of color-charged fermions...

 and the electro-weak theory.
In 1965, Feynman was appointed a foreign member of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

. At this time in the early 1960s, Feynman exhausted himself by working on multiple major projects at the same time, including a request, while at Caltech, to "spruce up" the teaching of undergraduates. After three years devoted to the task, he produced a series of lectures that eventually became the Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a 1964 physics textbook by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands, based upon the lectures given by Feynman to undergraduate students at the California Institute of Technology in 1961–63. It includes lectures on mathematics, electromagnetism,...

, one reason that Feynman is still regarded as one of the greatest teachers of physics. He wanted a picture of a drumhead sprinkled with powder to show the modes of vibration at the beginning of the book. Outraged by many rock and roll and drug connections that could be made from the image, the publishers changed the cover to plain red, though they included a picture of him playing drums in the foreword. Feynman later won the Oersted Medal
Oersted Medal
The Oersted Medal recognizes notable contributions to the teaching of physics. Established in 1936, it is awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers. The award is named for Hans Christian Ørsted. It is the Association's most prestigious award....

 for teaching, of which he seemed especially proud.

His students competed keenly for his attention; he was once awakened when a student solved a problem and dropped it in his mailbox; glimpsing the student sneaking across his lawn, he could not go back to sleep, and he read the student's solution. The next morning his breakfast was interrupted by another triumphant student, but Feynman informed him that he was too late.

Partly as a way to bring publicity to progress in physics, Feynman offered $1000 prizes for two of his challenges in nanotechnology, claimed by William McLellan
William McLellan (nanotechnology)
William Howard McLellan was an American electrical engineer.In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman offered two challenges relating to nanotechnology at the annual meeting of the Americal Physical Society, held that year at Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first...

 and Tom Newman
Tom Newman (scientist)
Tom Newman, a graduate student at Stanford University in 1985, was one of the two people to solve one of a pair of challenges put forth by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in 1959, in a talk titled "There's Plenty of Room at the...

, respectively. He was also one of the first scientists to conceive the possibility of quantum computer
Quantum computer
A quantum computer is a device for computation that makes direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Quantum computers are different from traditional computers based on transistors...

s.

Many of his lectures and other miscellaneous talks were turned into books, including The Character of Physical Law and QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. He gave lectures which his students annotated into books, such as Statistical Mechanics and Lectures on Gravity. The Feynman Lectures on Physics occupied two physicists, Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands
Matthew Sands
Matthew Sands is an American physicist and educator who is best known as a co-author of the Feynman Lectures on Physics.Sands received his B.A. in physics and mathematics from Clark University in 1940 and his M.A. in physics from Rice University. After earning a Ph.D. in physics from the...

 as part-time co-authors for several years. Even though they were not adopted by most universities as textbooks, the books continue to be bestsellers because they provide a deep understanding of physics. As of 2005, The Feynman Lectures on Physics has sold over 1.5 million copies in English, an estimated 1 million copies in Russian, and an estimated half million copies in other languages.

In 1974, Feynman delivered the Caltech commencement address on the topic of cargo cult science
Cargo cult science
Cargo cult science refers to practices that have the semblance of being scientific, but are missing "a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty". The term was first used by the physicist Richard Feynman during his commencement...

, which has the semblance of science but is only pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 due to a lack of "a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty" on the part of the scientist. He instructed the graduating class that "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that."

In 1984–86, he developed a variational method for the approximate calculation of path integrals which has led to a powerful method of converting divergent perturbation expansions into convergent strong-coupling expansions (variational perturbation theory) and, as a consequence, to the most accurate determination of critical exponent
Critical exponent
Critical exponents describe the behaviour of physical quantities near continuous phase transitions. It is believed, though not proven, that they are universal, i.e...

s measured in satellite experiments.

In the late 1980s, according to "Richard Feynman and the Connection Machine
Connection Machine
The Connection Machine was a series of supercomputers that grew out of Danny Hillis' research in the early 1980s at MIT on alternatives to the traditional von Neumann architecture of computation...

", Feynman played a crucial role in developing the first massively parallel
Parallel processing
Parallel processing is the ability to carry out multiple operations or tasks simultaneously. The term is used in the contexts of both human cognition, particularly in the ability of the brain to simultaneously process incoming stimuli, and in parallel computing by machines.-Parallel processing by...

 computer, and in finding innovative uses for it in numerical computations, in building neural network
Neural network
The term neural network was traditionally used to refer to a network or circuit of biological neurons. The modern usage of the term often refers to artificial neural networks, which are composed of artificial neurons or nodes...

s, as well as physical simulations using cellular automata (such as turbulent fluid flow), working with Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram is a British scientist and the chief designer of the Mathematica software application and the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine.- Biography :...

 at Caltech. His son Carl also played a role in the development of the original Connection Machine engineering; Feynman influencing the interconnects while his son worked on the software.

Feynman diagrams are now fundamental for string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

 and M-theory
M-theory
In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds that of superstring theories in 10 dimensions, proponents believe that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories...

, and have even been extended topologically. The world-lines of the diagrams have developed to become tubes to allow better modeling of more complicated objects such as strings and membranes. However, shortly before his death, Feynman criticized string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

 in an interview: "I don't like that they're not calculating anything," he said. "I don't like that they don't check their ideas. I don't like that for anything that disagrees with an experiment, they cook up an explanation—a fix-up to say, 'Well, it still might be true. These words have since been much-quoted by opponents of the string-theoretic direction for particle physics.

Challenger disaster


Feynman played an important role on the Presidential Rogers Commission, which investigated the Challenger disaster
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

. Feynman devoted the latter half of his book What Do You Care What Other People Think?
What Do You Care What Other People Think?
"What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character is the second of two books consisting of transcribed and edited oral reminiscences from American physicist Richard Feynman. It follows Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!The book presents his life as a series of...

to his experience on the Rogers Commission, straying from his usual convention of brief, light-hearted anecdotes to deliver an extended and sober narrative. Feynman's account reveals a disconnect between NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's engineers and executives that was far more striking than he expected. His interviews of NASA's high-ranking managers revealed startling misunderstandings of elementary concepts. He concluded that the NASA management's space shuttle reliability estimate was fantastically unrealistic. He warned in his appendix to the commission's report, "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." He also rebuked some mathematicians for their exclusivity, saying "I have great suspicion that [mathematicians] don't know that this stuff is wrong and that they're intimidating people."

Personal life


While researching for his Ph.D., Feynman married his first wife, Arline Greenbaum (often spelled Arlene). She was diagnosed with tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, but she and Feynman were careful, and he never contracted it. She succumbed to the disease in 1945. This portion of Feynman's life was portrayed in the 1996 film Infinity
Infinity (film)
Infinity is a 1996 American biographical drama film about the early life of physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman was played by Matthew Broderick, who also directed and produced the film. Broderick's mother, Patricia Broderick, wrote the screenplay, which was based on the books Surely You're Joking, Mr...

, which featured Feynman's daughter Michelle in a cameo role.

He was married a second time in June 1952, to Mary Louise Bell of Neodesha, Kansas
Neodesha, Kansas
Neodesha is a city in Wilson County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,486. The name is derived from the Osage Indian word, Ni-o-sho-de, and is translated as The-Water-Is-Smoky-With-Mud.-19th century:...

; this marriage was brief and unsuccessful: He later married Gweneth Howarth from Ripponden
Ripponden
Ripponden is a village and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England, near Halifax, on the River Ryburn. It is the site of a Roman settlement, and there is a Roman Road over nearby Blackstone Edge, a rocky ridge of Millstone Grit...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, who shared his enthusiasm for life and spirited adventure. Besides their home in Altadena, California
Altadena, California
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California...

, they had a beach house in Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

, purchased with the prize money from Feynman's Nobel Prize, his one third share of $55,000. They remained married until Feynman's death. They had a son, Carl, in 1962, and adopted a daughter, Michelle, in 1968.

Feynman had a great deal of success teaching Carl, using discussions about ants and Martian
Martian
As an adjective, the term martian is used to describe anything pertaining to the planet Mars.However, a Martian is more usually a hypothetical or fictional native inhabitant of the planet Mars. Historically, life on Mars has often been hypothesized, although there is currently no solid evidence of...

s as a device for gaining perspective on problems and issues; he was surprised to learn that the same teaching devices were not useful with Michelle. Mathematics was a common interest for father and son; they both entered the computer field as consultants and were involved in advancing a new method of using multiple computers to solve complex problems—later known as parallel computing
Parallel computing
Parallel computing is a form of computation in which many calculations are carried out simultaneously, operating on the principle that large problems can often be divided into smaller ones, which are then solved concurrently . There are several different forms of parallel computing: bit-level,...

. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

 retained Feynman as a computational consultant during critical missions. One co-worker characterized Feynman as akin to Don Quixote at his desk, rather than at a computer workstation, ready to do battle with the windmills.

Feynman traveled a great deal, notably to Brazil, where he gave courses at the CBPF (Brazilian Center for Physics Research) and near the end of his life schemed to visit the Russian land of Tuva
Tuva
The Tyva Republic , or Tuva , is a federal subject of Russia . It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders with the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and with Mongolia to the...

, a dream that, because of Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 bureaucratic problems, never became reality. The day after he died, a letter arrived for him from the Soviet government giving him authorization to travel to Tuva
Tuva
The Tyva Republic , or Tuva , is a federal subject of Russia . It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders with the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and with Mongolia to the...

. Out of his enthusiastic interest in reaching Tuva came the phrase "Tuva or Bust
Tuva or Bust
Tuva or Bust! is a book by Ralph Leighton about the author and his friend Richard Feynman's attempt to travel to Tuva.The introduction explains how Feynman challenged Leighton, at the time a high school math teacher, "Whatever happened to Tannu Tuva?" Since Feynman had a reputation as a prankster...

" (also the title of a book about his efforts to get there), which was tossed about frequently amongst his circle of friends in hope that they, one day, could see it firsthand. The documentary movie Genghis Blues
Genghis Blues
Genghis Blues is a documentary film directed by Roko Belic. It centers on the journey of blind American singer Paul Pena to the isolated Asian nation of Tuva due to his interest in Tuvan throat singing....

mentions some of his attempts to communicate with Tuva
Tuva
The Tyva Republic , or Tuva , is a federal subject of Russia . It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders with the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and with Mongolia to the...

, and chronicles the successful journey there by his friends.

Responding to Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

's congratulation for his Nobel Prize, Feynman admitted to a long admiration for the then vice president. In a letter to an MIT professor dated December 6, 1966, Feynman expressed interest in running for the governor of California.

Feynman took up drawing at one time and enjoyed some success under the pseudonym "Ofey", culminating in an exhibition dedicated to his work. He learned to play a metal percussion instrument (frigideira) in a samba
Samba
Samba is a Brazilian dance and musical genre originating in Bahia and with its roots in Brazil and Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions. It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival...

 style in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and participated in a samba school
Samba school
A samba school is a club or dancing school. They practice and often perform in huge square-compounds devoted to practicing and exhibiting samba, an African-Brazilian dance. The schools are traditionally associated with a particular neighborhood, often shanty towns...

.

In addition, he had some degree of synesthesia
Synesthesia
Synesthesia , from the ancient Greek , "together," and , "sensation," is a neurologically based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway...

 for equations, explaining that the letters in certain mathematical functions appeared in color for him, even though invariably printed in standard black-and-white.

According to Genius, the James Gleick
James Gleick
James Gleick is an American author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology...

–authored biography, Feynman tried LSD
LSD
Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD or LSD-25, also known as lysergide and colloquially as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, synaesthesia, an...

 during his professorship at Caltech. Somewhat embarrassed by his actions, Feynman largely sidestepped the issue when dictating his anecdotes; he mentions it in passing in the "O Americano, Outra Vez" section, while the "Altered States" chapter in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, covers a variety of instances in Feynman's life...

describes only marijuana
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

 and ketamine
Ketamine
Ketamine is a drug used in human and veterinary medicine. Its hydrochloride salt is sold as Ketanest, Ketaset, and Ketalar. Pharmacologically, ketamine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist...

 experiences at John Lilly
John C. Lilly
John Cunningham Lilly was an American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher and writer....

's famed sensory deprivation
Isolation tank
An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. They were first used by John C. Lilly in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Such tanks are now also used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine. The...

 tanks, as a way of studying consciousness. Feynman gave up alcohol when he began to show early signs of alcoholism, as he did not want to do anything that could damage his brain—the same reason given in "O Americano, Outra Vez" for his reluctance to experiment with LSD.

In Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, he gives advice on the best way to pick up a girl in a hostess bar. At Caltech, he used a nude/topless bar as an office away from his usual office, making sketches or writing physics equations on paper placemats. When the county officials tried to close the place, all visitors except Feynman refused to testify in favor of the bar, fearing that their families or patrons would learn about their visits. Only Feynman accepted, and in court, he affirmed that the bar was a public need, stating that craftsmen, technicians, engineers, common workers "and a physics professor" frequented the establishment. While the bar lost the court case, it was allowed to remain open as a similar case was pending appeal.

Feynman has a minor acting role in the film Anti-Clock
Anti-Clock
Anti-Clock is a 1979 film written and directed by Jane Arden, and co-directed by Jack Bond. The film, which stars Arden's son Sebastian Saville, was shot on film and video in colour and black and white sequences...

. He is credited as "The Professor."

Death


Feynman developed two rare forms of cancer, Liposarcoma
Liposarcoma
Liposarcoma is a malignant tumor that arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue, such as that inside the thigh or in the retroperitoneum.They are typically large bulky tumors which tend to have multiple smaller satellites extending beyond the main confines of the tumor.Liposarcomas, like all...

 and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, dying shortly after a final attempt at surgery for the former on February 15, 1988, aged 69. His last recorded words are noted as "I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."

Popular legacy


On May 4, 2005, the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 issued the American Scientists commemorative set of four 37-cent self-adhesive stamps in several configurations. The scientists depicted were Richard Feynman, John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

, Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock , the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, was an American scientist and one of the world's most distinguished cytogeneticists. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927, where she was a leader in the development of maize cytogenetics...

 and Josiah Willard Gibbs
Josiah Willard Gibbs
Josiah Willard Gibbs was an American theoretical physicist, chemist, and mathematician. He devised much of the theoretical foundation for chemical thermodynamics as well as physical chemistry. As a mathematician, he invented vector analysis . Yale University awarded Gibbs the first American Ph.D...

. Feynman's stamp, sepia-toned, features a photograph of a 30-something Feynman and eight small Feynman diagrams. The stamps were designed by artist Victor Stabin under the direction of U.S. Postal Service art director Carl T. Herrman.

The main building for the Computing Division at Fermilab
Fermilab
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics...

 is named the "Feynman Computing Center" in his honor.

The principal character in Thomas A. McMahon
Thomas A. McMahon
Thomas A. McMahon was a Professor of Applied Mechanics and Biology at Harvard University. His book Muscles, Reflexes and Locomotion is considered a classic on the mathematics, chemistry, biology, and mechanics of animal locomotion...

's 1970 novel, Principles of American Nuclear Chemistry: A Novel, is modeled on Feynman.

Real Time Opera
Real Time Opera
Real Time Opera is a performing arts organization dedicated to the production of new opera. Founded in 2002, it is based in Contoocook, New Hampshire and produces opera across the USA, engaging professional singers and a range of instrumental ensembles for performances at a wide variety of...

 premiered its opera Feynman at the Norfolk (CT) Chamber Music Festival in June 2005.

On the 20th anniversary of Feynman's death, composer Edward Manukyan
Edward Manukyan
Edward Manukyan is an Armenian-born composer residing in Southern California, United States...

 dedicated a piece for solo clarinet to his memory. It was premiered by Doug Storey, the principal clarinetist of the Amarillo Symphony.

In 2009 and 2010, respectively, clips of an interview with Feynman were used by composer John Boswell as part of the Symphony of Science
Symphony of Science
The Symphony of Science is a music project created by Washington-based electronic musician John Boswell. The project seeks to "spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through musical remixes." Boswell uses pitch-corrected audio and video samples from television programs featuring popular...

 project in the second, fifth, and seventh installment of his science educational videos, "We Are All Connected", "The Poetry of Reality", and "A Wave of Reason".

In 1998, a photo of Richard Feynman giving a lecture was part of the poster series commissioned by Apple Computer for their "Think Different
Think Different
"Think Different" is an advertising slogan created for Apple Computer in 1997 by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day.It was used in a television commercial, several print advertisements and a number of TV promos for Apple products. Apple's use of the slogan was discontinued...

" advertising campaign.

Textbooks and lecture notes


The Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics
The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a 1964 physics textbook by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands, based upon the lectures given by Feynman to undergraduate students at the California Institute of Technology in 1961–63. It includes lectures on mathematics, electromagnetism,...

is perhaps his most accessible work for anyone with an interest in physics, compiled from lectures to Caltech undergraduates in 1961–64. As news of the lectures' lucidity grew, a number of professional physicists and graduate students began to drop in to listen. Co-authors Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands
Matthew Sands
Matthew Sands is an American physicist and educator who is best known as a co-author of the Feynman Lectures on Physics.Sands received his B.A. in physics and mathematics from Clark University in 1940 and his M.A. in physics from Rice University. After earning a Ph.D. in physics from the...

, colleagues of Feynman, edited and illustrated them into book form. The work has endured, and is useful to this day. They were edited and supplemented in 2005 with "Feynman's Tips on Physics: A Problem-Solving Supplement to the Feynman Lectures on Physics" by Michael Gottlieb and Ralph Leighton
Ralph Leighton
Ralph Leighton is a biographer, film producer, and friend of the late physicist Richard Feynman. He recorded Feynman relating stories of his life. Leighton has released some of the recordings as The Feynman Tapes. These interviews became the basis for the books Surely You're Joking, Mr...

 (Robert Leighton's son), with support from Kip Thorne
Kip Thorne
Kip Stephen Thorne is an American theoretical physicist, known for his prolific contributions in gravitation physics and astrophysics and for having trained a generation of scientists...

 and other physicists.
Includes Feynman's Tips on Physics (with Michael Gottlieb and Ralph Leighton), which includes four previously unreleased lectures on problem solving, exercises by Robert Leighton and Rochus Vogt, and a historical essay by Matthew Sands.

Popular works

  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
    "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, covers a variety of instances in Feynman's life...

    : Adventures of a Curious Character, with contributions by Ralph Leighton, W. W. Norton & Co, 1985, ISBN 0-393-01921-7.
  • What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    "What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character is the second of two books consisting of transcribed and edited oral reminiscences from American physicist Richard Feynman. It follows Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!The book presents his life as a series of...

    : Further Adventures of a Curious Character, with contributions by Ralph Leighton, W. W. Norton & Co, 1988, ISBN 0-393-02659-0.
  • No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman, ed. Christopher Sykes, W. W. Norton & Co, 1996, ISBN 039331393X.
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher, Perseus Books, 1994, ISBN 0-201-40955-0.
  • Six Not So Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry and Space-Time, Addison Wesley, 1997, ISBN 0-201-15026-3.
  • The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist
    The Meaning of It All
    The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist is a non-fiction book by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. It is a collection of three previously unpublished public lectures given by Feynman in 1963. The book was first published in hardcover in 1998, ten years after Feynman's...

    , Perseus Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0738201669.
  • The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman
    The Pleasure of Finding Things Out
    The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a collection of short works from American physicist Richard Feynman, including interviews, speeches, lectures, and printed articles...

    , edited by Jeffrey Robbins, Perseus Books, 1999, ISBN 0738201081.
  • Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character, edited by Ralph Leighton, W. W. Norton & Co, 2005, ISBN 0-393-06132-9. Chronologically reordered omnibus volume of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
    Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
    "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, covers a variety of instances in Feynman's life...

    and What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    "What Do You Care What Other People Think?": Further Adventures of a Curious Character is the second of two books consisting of transcribed and edited oral reminiscences from American physicist Richard Feynman. It follows Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!The book presents his life as a series of...

    , with a bundled CD containing one of Feynman's signature lectures.

Audio and video recordings

  • Safecracker Suite (a collection of drum pieces interspersed with Feynman telling anecdotes)
  • Los Alamos From Below (audio, talk given by Feynman at Santa Barbara on February 6, 1975)
  • Six Easy Pieces (original lectures upon which the book is based)
  • Six Not So Easy Pieces (original lectures upon which the book is based)
  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The Complete Audio Collection
  • Samples of Feynman's drumming, chanting and speech are included in the songs "Tuva Groove (Bolur Daa-Bol, Bolbas Daa-Bol)" and "Kargyraa Rap (Dürgen Chugaa)" on the album Back Tuva Future, The Adventure Continues by Kongar-ool Ondar
    Kongar-ool Ondar
    Kongar-ol Ondar is a master Tuvan throat singer and a member of the Great Khural of Tuva. Ondar was born in 1962 near the Khemchik River in western Tuva. Considered a living treasure by the Republic of Tuva, Ondar is granted a stipend and an apartment for the musical skills he possesses...

    . The hidden track
    Hidden track
    In the field of recorded music, a hidden track is a piece of music that has been placed on a CD, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener...

     on this album also includes excerpts from lectures without musical background.
  • The Messenger Lectures
    Messenger Lectures
    The Messenger Lectures are a prestigious series of talks given by leading scholars and public figures at Cornell University. They were founded in 1924 by a gift from Hiram Messenger and are regarded as one of the most important of Cornell's extracurricular activities.There were initially "twelve...

    , given at Cornell in 1964, in which he explains basic topics in physics. Available on Project Tuva
    Project Tuva
    Project Tuva is an enhanced video player platform released by Microsoft Research to host the Messenger Lectures series titled The Character of Physical Law given at Cornell University by Richard Feynman in 1964 and recorded by the BBC...

     for free (See also the book The Character of Physical Law
    The Character of Physical Law
    The Character of Physical Law are a series of seven lectures by physicist Richard Feynman concerning the nature of the laws of physics. The talks were delivered by Feynman in 1964 at Cornell University, as part of the Messenger Lectures series...

    )
  • Take the world from another point of view [videorecording] / with Richard Feynman; Films for the Hu (1972)
  • The Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures Four public lectures of which the four chapters of the book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
    QED (book)
    QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter is an adaptation for the general reader of four lectures on quantum electrodynamics by Richard Feynman ....

     are transcripts. (1979)
  • The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1981) (not to be confused with the later published book of same title)
  • Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine Collection, BBC Archive of 6 short films of Feynman talking in a style that is accessible to all about the physics behind common to all experiences. (1983)
  • Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics (1986)
  • The Last Journey of a Genius, a BBC TV production in association with WGBH Boston (1989)
  • Tiny Machines: The Feynman Talk on Nanotechnology (video, 1984)
  • Computers From the Inside Out (video)
  • Quantum Mechanical View of Reality: Workshop at Esalen (video, 1983)
  • Idiosyncratic Thinking Workshop (video, 1985)
  • Bits and Pieces - From Richard's Life and Times (video, 1988)
  • Strangeness Minus Three (video, BBC Horizon 1964)
  • No Ordinary Genius (video, Cristopher Sykes Documentary)
  • Richard Feynman - The Best Mind Since Einstein (video, Documentary)
  • The Motion of Planets Around the Sun (audio, sometimes titled "Feynman's Lost Lecture")
  • Nature of Matter (audio)

See also


  • Feynman diagram
    Feynman diagram
    Feynman diagrams are a pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, first developed by the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Richard Feynman, and first introduced in 1948...

  • Feynman checkerboard
    Feynman checkerboard
    The Feynman Checkerboard or Relativistic Chessboard model was Richard Feynman’s sum-over-paths formulation of the kernel for a free spin ½ particle moving in one spatial dimension...

  • Flexagon
    Flexagon
    In geometry, flexagons are flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front....

  • Foresight Nanotech Institute Feynman Prize
    Foresight Nanotech Institute Feynman Prize
    The Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology is an award given by Foresight Nanotech Institute every year for significant advancements in nanotechnology. It is named in honor of physicist Richard Feynman, whose 1959 talk There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom is considered to have inspired the beginning of...

  • List of physicists
  • List of theoretical physicists
  • Negative probability
    Negative probability
    In 1942, Paul Dirac wrote a paper "The Physical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" where he introduced the concept of negative energies and negative probabilities:...

  • One-electron universe
  • Stückelberg–Feynman interpretation
  • Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory


Articles

  • Physics Today, American Institute of Physics
    American Institute of Physics
    The American Institute of Physics promotes science, the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies...

     magazine, February 1989 Issue. (Vol.42, No.2.) Special Feynman memorial issue containing non-technical articles on Feynman's life and work in physics.

Books

  • Brown, Laurie M. and Rigden, John S. (editors) (1993) Most of the Good Stuff: Memories of Richard Feynman Simon and Schuster, New York, ISBN 0883188708. Commentary by Joan Feynman, John Wheeler, Hans Bethe, Julian Schwinger, Murray Gell-Mann, Daniel Hillis, David Goodstein, Freeman Dyson, and Laurie Brown
  • Dyson, Freeman
    Freeman Dyson
    Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

     (1979) Disturbing the Universe. Harper and Row. ISBN 0-06-011108-9. Dyson's autobiography. The chapters "A Scientific Apprenticeship" and "A Ride to Albuquerque" describe his impressions of Feynman in the period 1947–48 when Dyson was a graduate student at Cornell
  • Gleick, James
    James Gleick
    James Gleick is an American author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology...

     (1992) Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon. ISBN 0679747044
  • Krauss, Lawrence M.
    Lawrence M. Krauss
    Lawrence Maxwell Krauss is an American theoretical physicist who is professor of physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and director of the Origins Project at the Arizona State University. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of...

     (2011) Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science. W.W. Norton & Company. 350 pages, biography. ISBN 0393064719,
  • LeVine, Harry, III (2009) The Great Explainer: The Story of Richard Feynman (Profiles in Science series) Morgan Reynolds, Greensboro, North Carolina, ISBN 978-1-59935-113-1; for high school readers
  • Mehra, Jagdish (1994) The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-853948-7
  • Gribbin, John
    John Gribbin
    John R. Gribbin is a British science writer and a visiting Fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex.- Biography :John Gribbin graduated with his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Sussex in 1966. Gribbin then earned his master of science degree in astronomy in 1967, also...

     and Gribbin, Mary (1997) Richard Feynman: A Life in Science. Dutton, New York, ISBN 052594124X
  • Milburn, Gerard J. (1998) The Feynman Processor: Quantum Entanglement and the Computing Revolution Perseus Books, ISBN 0-7382-0173-1
  • Mlodinow, Leonard (2003) Feynman's Rainbow: A Search For Beauty In Physics And In Life Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-69251-4 Published in the United Kingdom as Some Time With Feynman
  • Ottaviani, Jim
    Jim Ottaviani
    Jim Ottaviani is the author of several comic books about the history of science. His best-known work, Two-Fisted Science: Stories About Scientists, features biographical stories about Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Niels Bohr, and several stories about physicist Richard Feynman...

     and Myrick, Leland (2011) Feynman. First Second. ISBN 978-1596432598 .
  • Schweber, Silvan S. (1994) "Chapter 8: Richard Feynman and the Visualization of Space-Time Processes" QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga (Princeton Series in Physics) Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, pp. 373–473, ISBN 0691036853
  • Sykes, Christopher, ed., (1994) No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman. W W Norton & Co. Inc. ISBN 0393036219

Films and plays

  • Infinity
    Infinity (film)
    Infinity is a 1996 American biographical drama film about the early life of physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman was played by Matthew Broderick, who also directed and produced the film. Broderick's mother, Patricia Broderick, wrote the screenplay, which was based on the books Surely You're Joking, Mr...

    , a movie directed by Matthew Broderick
    Matthew Broderick
    Matthew Broderick is an American film and stage actor who, among other roles, played the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adult Simba in The Lion King film series, and Leo Bloom in the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his...

     and starring Matthew Broderick
    Matthew Broderick
    Matthew Broderick is an American film and stage actor who, among other roles, played the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adult Simba in The Lion King film series, and Leo Bloom in the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his...

     as Feynman, depicting Feynman's love affair with his first wife and ending with the Trinity test. 1996.
  • Parnell, Peter
    Peter Parnell
    Peter Parnell is an American playwright. His plays include The Cider House Rules, Flaubert's Latest, Hyde in Hollywood, An Imaginary Life, QED, Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket, Romance Language, Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World, and Sorrows of Stephen.Parnell is also noted for...

     (2002) "QED
    QED (play)
    QED is a play by American playwright Peter Parnell, which chronicles a day in the life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman...

    " Applause Books, ISBN 978-1557835925, (play).
  • Whittell, Crispin (2006) "Clever Dick" Oberon Books, (play)
  • "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" A film documentary autobiography of Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate and theoretical physicist extraordinary. 1982, BBC TV 'Horizon' and PBS 'Nova' (50 mins film). See Christopher Sykes Productions http://www.sykes.easynet.co.uk/
  • "The Quest for Tannu Tuva", with Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton. 1987, BBC TV 'Horizon' and PBS 'Nova' (under the title "Last Journey of a Genius") (50 mins film)
  • "No Ordinary Genius" A two-part documentary about Feynman's life and work, with contributions from colleagues, friends and family. 1993, BBC TV 'Horizon' and PBS 'Nova' (a one-hour version, under the title "The Best Mind Since Einstein") (2 x 50 mins films)

External links