Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
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). 16 pages of photos.
practicality of that—“the rays emitted by the fission of the uranium in the engine would kill the driver.” Still, he had spent time working out other applications of nuclear power. At Los Alamos he had invented a type of fast reactor for generating electric power and had patented it (in the government’s behalf). He was also thinking about space travel. “Dear Sir,” he wrote to a physicist colleague as 1945 came to a close, “I believe that interplanetary travel is now (with the release of atomic
same. With waves, however, the result is very different, because of interference. If the slits were opened one at a time, the pattern would resemble the pattern for bullets: two distinct peaks. But when the slits are open at the same time, the waves pass through both slits at once and interfere with each other: where they are in phase they reinforce each other; where they are out of phase they cancel each other out. Now the quantum paradox: Particles, like bullets, strike the target one
food, grass, and hay: … Energy plays an important part And it’s used in all this work; Energy, yes, energy with power so great, A kind that cannot shirk. If the farmer had not this energy, He would be at a loss, But it’s sad to think, this energy Belongs to a little brown horse. Then he wrote another poem, brooding self-consciously about his own obsession with science and with the idea of science. Amid some borrowed apocalyptic imagery he expressed a feeling that science meant
because it rubs against the sidewalk and the little notches and bumps on the sidewalk grab pieces and pull them off.” That is knowledge. “To simply say, ‘It is because of friction,’ is sad, because it’s not science.” Feynman taught thirty-four formal courses during his Caltech career, roughly one a year. Most were graduate seminars called Advanced Quantum Mechanics or Topics in Theoretical Physics. That often meant his current research interest: graduate students sometimes heard, without
have to address. In the meantime, Wheeler, too, had reasons to be drawn toward this implausibly pure conception. Electrons might interact directly, without the mediation of the field. Folds and Rhythms Feynman tended to associate more with the mathematicians than the physicists at the Graduate College. Students from the two groups joined each afternoon for tea in a common lounge—more English tradition transplanted—and Feynman would listen to an increasingly alien jargon. Pure mathematics