Richard Feynman: Still Lively on Scribd

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on July 3, 2009 · 2 comments

in Alumni Life, In the News, Science

Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman

Physicist Richard Feynman ’39 was a Nobel laureate and a witty lecturer, which is saying a lot for a guy whose topics ranged from the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium to particle physics. Undeniably brilliant, he was credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. Though he died in 1988, his words have a new life.

Some of his lively lectures and chunks of his biography are available online in Scribd, which describes itself as the “largest social publishing company in the world—the website where more than 60 million people each month discover and share original writings and documents.” After a free sign in, you can join them.

The Meaning of It All,” three lectures given in 1963, comment on the impact of science outside of science. He teases apart issues that arise from science defined in three ways: as a method for finding things out, the resulting body of knowledge, and what is done with that knowledge.

In “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” Feynman’s 1959 talk to the American Physical Society, he introduces the concept of nanotechnology.

What do you care what other people will think?” is an as told-to-chronicle of Feynman’s work on the presidential commission investigation into the 1986 Challenger disaster. This engaging personal narrative digs into the technical and management problems that triggered the tragedy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Greenberg July 4, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I met Dick at Caltech. He was an absolutely amazing person, both an intellect and a character. He often said that if he could not explain something to a Freshman in Physics, then he must not understand it very well himself. And he was right — he COULD explain even the most arcane aspects of relativity and quantum mechanics to a Freshman.

I also saw him speak to a large audience there about the Challenger. (Remember, Caltech operates JPL, so this was an interesting crowd.) He began by removing his tie, saying that it had been necessary while on the East Coast. He then related the story of his famous demonstration of the O-ring problem in cold… but credited someone else for telling him to check that. It seems a military officer who was precluded by politics from comment, told Dick that his motorcycles leaked oil around the gaskets on cold days.

Thanks for the chance to reminisce.

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antalya web tasarIm July 31, 2010 at 7:13 pm

A good article about Feynman…

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