More gems from the Feynman factory. If some things are old or borrowed, it hardly matters: there are enough new or unfamiliar to charm fans. Since the Nobel laureate's death, there have been biographies, "as-told-to" accounts, and various interviews and selected writings that continue to reveal the workings of one of the most remarkable and inventive minds in physics. But part and parcel with the revelations of genius are the pranks and idiosyncrasies that have built the Feynman legend of bongo player, gambler, bon vivant, and girl watcher. The current collection replays a few of those choice bits. But it's much more a picture of Feynman as passionate and scrupulously honest scientist, insisting always that truth is never absolute. There is much homage to his father, who inspired the habit of asking questions that go to the heart of the matter of how and why things work. A wonderful Caltech graduation speech allows him to contrast real with pseudoscience and speaks to the absolute necessity of providing one's peers with all the information they need to judge one's work. There's a lovely reminiscence of himself as a nervous 24-year-old asked to present a seminar at Princeton before a group that included Eugene Wigner, John Wheeler, Wolfgang Pauli, John von Neumann and Albert Einstein. When it's over, Pauli gets up and turns to Einstein and says, don't you agree that this theory cannot be right? To which Einstein replies, "N-o-o-o." "Nicest no I ever heard," Feynman says. The collection includes Feynman's insightful minority report on the Challenger disaster, his well-known disdainful comments on philosophy and behavioral science, his despair of today's cultural ignorance of the nature of science, and his prescient thoughts on parallel processing for computers and principles of miniaturization we now call nanotechnology. All said, of course, in the idiom of the boy from New York whose pleasure in finding things out affords the reader another sort of pleasure. (Kirkus Reviews)
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About the Author
One of the world's greatest theoretical physicists and a Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safe-cracker, practical joker and storyteller, his life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism.
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