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About the Author

Richard Feynman, an American theoretical physicist, received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1942 and worked at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the atomic bomb during World War II. From 1945 to 1950, he taught at Cornell University and became professor of theoretical physics at the California show more Institute of Technology in 1950. Feynman made important contributions to quantum electrodynamics (QED) and electromagnetic interactions, such as interactions among electrons. In Feynman's approach, interactions are considered exchanges of virtual particles. For example, Feynman explained the interaction of two electrons as an exchange of virtual photons. Feynman's theory has proved to be accurate in its predictions. In 1965 the Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to three pioneers in quantum electrodynamics: Feynman, Julian Schwinger, and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. Feynman was an outspoken critic of NASA for its failure to notice flaws in the design of the Challenger space shuttle, which resulted in its tragic explosion. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Richard P. Feynman

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) — Author — 2,603 copies
The Character of Physical Law (1965) 1,531 copies
Feynman's Tips on Physics (2005) 292 copies
Quantum Electrodynamics (1961) 78 copies
The Quotable Feynman (2015) 41 copies
The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volumes 1-2 (2003) — Narrator, some editions — 23 copies
The Feynman Lectures on Physics Volumes 9-10 (2007) — Author — 4 copies
Fizik Yasalari Uzerine (2012) 3 copies
Lusten att upptäcka (2020) 2 copies
Genius 1 copy

Associated Works

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (2008) — Contributor — 793 copies
No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman (1994) — Contributor — 325 copies
Superstrings: A Theory of Everything? (1988) — Contributor — 238 copies
Lectures on Physics, Vol. 2: Exercises (1964) — Original textbook author — 14 copies
Feynman lectures on physics. Exercises vol. 1 (1964) — Original textbook author — 12 copies
Infinity [1996 film] (1996) — Original book — 10 copies
Het derde Testament : Joodse verhalen (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 6 copies


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Common Knowledge



Feynman in Legacy Libraries (March 2021)


In my own experience, these texts were never used in the classroom or problem-solving, but served as useful adjuncts for students who had the extra interest or time beyond passing exams.
sfj2 | 10 other reviews | Nov 25, 2023 |
My son saw me reading this last month, looked at the page full of differential equations, and remarked, "Some light reading, Dad?" Well, actually, yes! So much here! in an introductory course! That every student at Cal Tech, regardless of major, was required to take these classes is amazing. And if I had Feynman as my instructor, with this as the intro, I think my life would have be quite different. Not that my professor, Dr. V. V. Raman, whose grandfather won a Nobel, was a slouch, but this had meat and my freshman class had basics of simplified mechanics. I changed majors a few times, dropped out, eventually went back and became a mechanical engineer and I've never lost the love of this stuff (and am happy with my life). And this is definitely something I should have read long ago. It's a long read now - Vol 2 is even longer and I expect to stretch it out over next year as I did this one for 2023. The narrative is infectious and you can feel the excitement that Feynman had, and conveyed, for the material.

Feynman is eminently quotable. A sampling:

[on actually measuring positions of planets and how they moved]
This was a tremendous idea—that to find something out, it is better to perform some careful experiments than to carry on deep philosophical arguments.
{This is the idea. Philosphers tend to ask questions with no answers (although some of them think they come up with answers). Science looks for answers to real questions.}

[Universal gravitation]
This phenomenon showed that light does not travel instantaneously, and furnished the first estimate of the speed of light. This was done in 1676.

[on precision of definition]
Perhaps you say, “That’s a terrible thing—I learned that in science we have to define everything precisely.” We cannot define anything precisely! If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers, who sit opposite each other, one saying to the other, “You don’t know what you are talking about!” The second one says, “What do you mean by know? What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you?,” and so on.
{Love it!}

[more on philosophers]
...what is an object? Philosophers are always saying, “Well, just take a chair for example.” The moment they say that, you know that they do not know what they are talking about any more. What is a chair? Well, a chair is a certain thing over there … certain?, how certain? ”
{45 years I've been saying they don't know what they are talking about...}

[on relativity]
Poincaré made the following statement of the principle of relativity: “According to the principle of relativity, the laws of physical phenomena must be the same for a fixed observer as for an observer who has a uniform motion of translation relative to him, so that we have not, nor can we possibly have, any means of discerning whether or not we are carried along in such a motion.”

[on cocktail party philosophers]
When this idea descended upon the world, it caused a great stir among philosophers, particularly the “cocktail-party philosophers,” who say, “Oh, it is very simple: Einstein’s theory says all is relative!” In fact, a surprisingly large number of philosophers, not only those found at cocktail parties (but rather than embarrass them, we shall just call them “cocktail-party philosophers”), will say, “That all is relative is a consequence of Einstein, and it has profound influences on our ideas.””

[on notation]
We could, of course, use any notation we want; do not laugh at notations; invent them, they are powerful. In fact, mathematics is, to a large extent, invention of better notations.
… (more)
Razinha | 4 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
The second half about Feynman's work with the Challenger disaster commission is worth the price of admission.
A.Godhelm | 50 other reviews | Oct 20, 2023 |
Dnf. No doubt Mr Feynman was incredibly smart and a great teacher, but in this book he mostly comes off as an insufferable know-it-all who delights in being a tiresome asshole.
Yggie | 168 other reviews | Oct 12, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Ralph Leighton Editor, Contributor, Preface
Robert B. Leighton Editor, Author
Matthew Sands Author, Editor
David L. Goodstein Preface, Editor
Michelle Feynman Editor, Introduction
Roger Penrose Introduction
P. A. M. Dirac Contributor
Albert R. Hibbs Foreword, Introduction
Paul Davies Introduction
Jan Klíma Translator
Aude van Ryn Illustrator
Luis Bou Translator
Brian Edward Cox Introduction
Andy Bridge Cover artist
Jim Stoddart Cover designer
Laura Servidei Translator
Anthony Zee Introduction
Freeman Dyson Foreword
Raymond Todd Narrator
Antoni Bosch Translator
Max Broughton Designer


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