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GENIUS the Life and Science of Richard…

GENIUS the Life and Science of Richard Feynman (original 1992; edition 1992)


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2,536253,640 (4.04)25
Title:GENIUS the Life and Science of Richard Feynman
Info:Vintage Books (1992), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:physics, biography

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Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick (1992)


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A remarkable book about a remarkable man. Gleick does as good a job as anyone can at 1) explaining another person and 2) explaining the physics that has gone beyond what the eye can see, the hand can feel, and the average person can comprehend. ( )
  dasam | Jun 21, 2018 |
In Genius, James Gleick has the same problem with Richard Feynman that Robert Kanigel had with Ramanujan in The Man Who Knew Infinity. If you are writing about a genius in literature, you can include excerpts from their works; if a genius painter, pictures of their paintings; if a genius musician, recordings of their music; and thus give some level of accessibility to readers who don’t happen to be geniuses. With a genius in science or mathematics, you’re out of luck; thus, there are some equations in Genius, and some Feynman diagrams, but they don’t really help very much. Biographers of scientific geniuses are reduced to stressing eccentricities – on the order of “Well, perhaps Albert Einstein was the greatest physicist who ever lived, but he never wore socks”. (In fact, Einstein is mentioned in Genius, when Feynman goes to visit him at Princeton – and it’s noted that Einstein was wearing shoes, but no socks). If you’re a genius with no eccentricity besides your scientific ability, your biographers will be lost – in fact, you probably won’t get a biography at all. (Example: there’s only one person ever to win two Nobel Prizes in physics. Their personal life was perfectly ordinary. Name this person).

So, we get Feynman the eccentric – playing the bongos, cracking safes at Los Alamos, “womanizing”, juicy details. Gleick notes Feynman cultivated this to a small extent; but he also enjoyed the challenges of playing the bongos, cracking safes, and women. There’s nothing that gives me a real understanding of Feynman’s physics – because I’m not a genius and I wouldn’t understand it. Ah well, there’s always the Lectures. ( )
3 vote setnahkt | Jan 26, 2018 |
Feynman's success in QED re-normalization won him the Nobel Prize, but his contributions were broad in science and education. I read his lecture series many years ago and got a grounding in many aspects of physics. However, what this book offers is anecdotal stories of his life that illustrate his humor and instincts for discovery. His, all too human, pranks are legendary. I enjoyed the book immensely. ( )
  halesso | Nov 29, 2017 |
Interesting man, interesting life,even an interesting death. Well written and thoroughly researched. ( )
  jamespurcell | Feb 15, 2017 |
I'm always a sucker for a biography of Feynman -- this is perhaps the best. Read it. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
In "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman" Mr. Gleick, a former science reporter for The New York Times and the author of "Chaos," demonstrates a great ability to portray scientific people and places and to dramatize the emergence of new ideas.

Trying to explain scientific work of the caliber of Feynman's is a difficult undertaking, however, especially if one tries to do it without resort to much mathematics, as Mr. Gleick does. But despite the lack of authentic science, one can thoroughly enjoy this well-researched biography for its picture of Feynman and his world.
added by mikeg2 | editNew York Times, Walter Moore (Oct 11, 1992)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gleick, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Minucci, SergioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was born not knowing
and have only had a little time to change that here and there.

-Richard Feynman
For my mother and father,
Beth and Donen
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Nothing is certain. (Prologue)
Eventually the art went out of radio tinkering.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Richard Feynman è stato certamente uno dei massimi scienziati del nostro secolo. La sua personalità complessa è diventata leggendaria. Enfant terrible del programma atomico, architetto delle teorie quantistiche, inventore dei celebri diagrammi che portano il suo nome, vulcanico suonatore di bongo e fantastico narratore, infaticabile seduttore, in grado di spiegare la causa del disastro dello Shuttle con un bicchier d'acqua e un anello di gomma, Feynman aveva una personalità al di fuori da ogni regola. L'autore esplora i sentieri dell'intelligenza, della personalità, ma anche delle emozioni e della creatività di un Genio. Racconta la vertiginosa evoluzione della fisica nel nostro secolo, spiegandola al profano.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679747044, Paperback)

If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynman would be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment as a person of genius. Deservedly nominated for a National Book Award, underservedly passed over by the committee in the face of tough competition, and very deservedly a book that you must read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:42 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

From the author of the national bestseller Chaos comes an outstanding biography of one of the most dazzling and flamboyant scientists of the 20th century that "not only paints a highly attractive portrait of Feynman but also . . . makes for a stimulating adventure in the annals of science" (The New York Times).… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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