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The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P.Feynman (Helix Books) Hardcover – 31 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Books; First Printing edition (31 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738201081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738201085
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 540,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Feynman was, until his death in 1988, the most famous physicist in the world. Only an infinitesimal part of the general population could understand his mathematical physics, but his outgoing and sunny personality, his gift for exposition, his habit of playing the bongo drums, and his testimony to the Presidential Commission on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster turned him into a celebrity.

Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, called him 'the most original mind of his generation', while in its obituary The New York Times described him as 'arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the postwar generation of theoretical physicists'.

Product Description

Review

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is yet another posthumous compilation of Feynman's musings. With each successive book - starting from the wonderful transcriptions of Leighton, Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman - they have been declining in quality for years. Well, this is a hodgepodge of paper scraps and even raw oral interviews that have been thrown together to exploit just about the last drop of these kinds of things, and I can say that I don't think the process should continue.

There are some amusing things in this book and some interesting details, but there really isn't anything special except for the fact that Feynman enjoys the personality cult associated with a zany physics genius. He was an original character and, in physics, a truly great thinker. But that doesn't make every last little thing that he ever said or scribbled down interesting, except to uncritical devotees who live with the fantasy that everything he said was better than worthwhile. Indeed, if you know about something in great depth he writes (well talks) about, his views appear as superficial as the rest of non-specialists on the subjects. Where he is truly interesting in on physics, mathematics, and science - and the overwhelming majority of what he produced on those subjects is already available.

I would not recommend this book, except as a source of Feynman trivia if that is your bag. Indeed, I had heard most of these things before - either in films about the man or from his earlier writings. As such, that makes this book the crassest attempt to commercially exploit the legacy of this great man yet again. If such a thing were possible, the editor should be ashamed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edward Blythe on 28 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little disapointed with the content & found it rarther heavey going. Its not quite what I had envisaged
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. A. Randell on 7 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
Interesting but you need to have some understanding of physics to actually get what the guys on about. It clears things up if you are confused but can be quite tough going in places.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can I say its Richard Faynman- its like having a casual chat in a bar over a drink and he really makes it simple and understandable. Magic
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By Luise on 17 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I saw a film about the author. What a man! This is a good book to dip in and out of. Will definitely buy his other books. it arrived very quickly.
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By Nicholas Worsnop on 2 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's not much more you can say about one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century. Classic read, incredible insight into a brilliant mind.
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By Jacko on 23 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This man is a genius, in the true sense of the word! Don't worry if you haven't got a physics background (as I haven't). Feynman doesn't use much maths and complicated terms to explain things. He was a teacher so can explain things to 'laymen' with great ease!
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