PROFESSOR RICHARD P. FEYNMAN,.... SIR! ...... Come, come, Professor :  ''Surely You're Joking, Professor Feynman! '' : !WOW!

How many of you, students, know of a  Physics Professor who could fake foreign languages, play the drums, sell his own drawings, crack safes and go to win a  Nobel Prize?    

Well, Dr. Richard P. Feynman is that professor, and this book as told to his drumming partner and the  co-author of the book, Ralph Leighton, is full of tales of his adventures and descriptions of his varied interests.

Feynman earned his undergraduate degree in physics at MIT and pursued graduate studies at Princeton. His work also helped develop the atomic bomb.

Eventually he started teaching at  Cornell University and then moved to Caltech, where he stayed for the rest of his life. Upon reading this biography, I was struck most by Dr. Feynman's eagerness to learn many different things.

He was interested in math, physics, how ants move, lock-picking, music, drawing and what not.

He became interested in mathematics at an early age, and always found practical examples for which concepts would be useful. 

He placed a strong emphasis on understanding things as opposed to merely knowing the name of a concept.

Not only was he interested in math and physics, he also took philosophy and biology courses outside his field in graduate school.

Professor Feynman fondly remembered  how his father developed his interest in ants. At Princeton, he wanted to find out how ants moved. He set up small experiments in his room to determine  if they had any sense of geometry.

Another interest of Feynman's was picking locks. 

Fiddling with locks was his entertainment at Los Alamos, where he was part of the Manhattan Project, a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons.

There, he could crack safes, to the surprise of his colleagues, in which top-secret documents related to the atomic bomb were considered safe.

A fascinating thread that runs through the book is Feynman's insights into life. At one point he looked inward and realised he had to cut down on the the amount of  decision-making he did to avoid decision-fatigue.

Probably to keep space in his mind for important issues and problems, he deliberately stopped making some decisions.

He became sick of deciding what kind of dessert to eat at a restaurant, and always ordered chocolate ice cream.

Later in his life, people kept coming up to him with better offers so he could leave Caltech, but eventually he decided that he would stay there. 

He decided he would never decide again.

He also didn't care  what people thought of him. He once declined an offer from Einstein to join the  Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, realising that he wasn't responsible for living to the expectations of others.

*Another of his book's insights into his life was his ability to accept failure. Normally the lives of successful people are portrayed as flawless*. 

Not Feynman's which was motivational to me. 

At Princeton, his advisor gave him a problem on which he gave up. He also admitted he could never really solve the  ''quantum theory of half-advanced, half-retarded potentiate'',  though he worked on it for years.

An interesting part of the book describes his life during World War II and how he participated in the making of an atom bomb at Los Alamos.

There he met great scientists, and later remembered how easily those scientists debated difficult ideas, and made decisions in a timely manner.

He came to feel strongly about *privacy and censorship* during this time because the letters he sent to his wife, who was then ill, were read.

Feynman was close to his family. At various points in the book he mentioned how his father influenced him and it also appears that he was close to his sister.

Reading details about his first wife was painful because she remained sick while he was at Los Alamos, but one does get the impression that Feynman loved her.

The Honor and Serving of the  Latest Operational Research on..... ''great professors'' from the world over, continues.

With respectful dedication to the Students, professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and................... Twitter-!E-WOW!   -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Failure & Forms '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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