Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton, Edward Hutchings

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0393316041

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A New York Times bestseller―the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric―a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

Black-and-white photographs throughout

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the details. That was the kind of problem I thought we would be talking about in the meeting the next day. I went to the meeting and noticed that some guy who had introduced me to all the people at the cocktail party was sitting next to me. He was apparently some flunky assigned to be at my side at all times. On my other side was some super general I had heard of before. At the first session of the meeting they talked about some technical matters, and I made a few comments. But later on, near

of the kids in all of the public schools have to be chosen by the State Board of Education, so they have a committee to look over the books and to give them advice on which books to take. It happened that a lot of the books were on a new method of teaching arithmetic that they called "new math," and since usually the only people to look at the books were schoolteachers or administrators in education, they thought it would be a good idea to have somebody who uses mathematics scientifically, who

who was sitting next to Einstein, gets up and says, "I do not sink dis teory can be right, because of dis, and dis, and dis," and he turns to Einstein and says, "Don't you agree, Professor Einstein?" Einstein says, "Nooooooooooooo," a nice, German­sounding "No," ­­ very polite. "I find only that it would be very difficult to make a corresponding theory for gravitational interaction." He meant for the general theory of relativity, which was his baby. He continued: "Since we have at this time not

them. They could tell, within a few steps, whether they were going toward the food or away from it ­­ presumably from the trail, which might be a series of smells in a pattern: A, B, space, A, B, space, and so on.) I tried at one point to make the ants go around in a circle, but I didn't have enough patience to set it up. I could see no reason, other than lack of patience, why it couldn't be done. One thing that made experimenting difficult was that breathing on the ants made them scurry. It

nevertheless showed he was convinced that our theory was wrong. At the end he wrote, "The F­G (Feynman­Gell­Mann) theory of beta decay is no F­G." Murray says, "What should we do about this? You know, Telegdi's pretty good." I say, "We just wait." Two days later there's another letter from Telegdi. He's a complete convert. He found out from our theory that he had disregarded the possibility that the proton recoiling from the neutron is not the same in all directions. He had assumed it was the

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