Quantum Man

Quantum Man

Richard Feynman's Life in Science

Book - 2011
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Traces the colorful, turbulent life of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, from the death of his childhood sweetheart during the Manhattan Project to his rise as an icon in the scientific community.
Publisher: New York : Atlas & Co. ; W.W. Norton, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393064711
0393064719
Characteristics: xvii, 350 p. : ill. ; 21 cm

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j
jimg2000
Feb 12, 2014

Chronicled Feynman's journey and contributions in Quantum Physics, from participant of the Manhattan Project, QED diagrams, superfluidity ... to Quantum computing. Thanks to the internet, one can search for more media to read (or watch videos) on topics of interest. The author tried to add human stories and jokes to give readers a rest on the hard science ... thank you. A good human story was an article written by Danny Hillis of Connecting Machines http://longnow.org/essays/richard-feynman-and-connection-machine/?utm_source=feedly. Also I include a couple of the jokes in "quotes" .

johnf108 Apr 18, 2011

I've read a number of the books about Feynman and found this one different. There are few of the "adventure" type stories as in other books and when they are even mentioned it is mostly one line to tie to his personality.
The book is mostly about his method [wanting to discover everything himself rather than reading what others had done], what he was looking to do in science and I think painting a balanced picture of him. There is also a lot more of the science quests than I recall from other books.
'Stories' have alluded to his conflict with Murray Gell-Mann but this book paints a more nuanced picture of their relationship which seemed to be similar with other people.
I fully recommend the book.

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j
jimg2000
Feb 12, 2014

Page 102, a variant of this joke:

A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician sit in a sidewalk cafe, looking at the building across the road. Two people go into the building, then three people come out.

Physicist: "This must be a measuring error!"

Biologist: "This is proof of procreation!"

Mathematician: "If one more person goes into the building, it will be empty!"

j
jimg2000
Feb 12, 2014

... Rutherford told it to a great Danish physicist, Niels Bohr. It's about a person who goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot.

He is shown a very colorful bird and told that it speaks 10 different words and its price is $500.

Then he is shown a more colorful bird, with a vocabulary of 100 words, with a price of $5,000.

He then sees a scruffy beast in the corner and asks how much that bird is. He is told $100,000.
"Why?" he asks. "That bird is not very beautiful at all. How many words, then, does it speak?" None, he is told. Flabbergasted, he says to the clerk, "This bird here is beautiful, and speaks 10 words and is $500. That bird over there speaks 100 words and is $5,000. How can that scruffy little bird over there, who doesn't speak a single word, be worth $100,000?"

The clerk smiles and says, "That bird thinks."

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