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Showing posts from February, 2004

Surely You Are Joking, Mr Feynman – Richard Feynman *****

As far as the general public is concerned there is no doubt who was the greatest physicist of the 20th century – Albert Einstein. Ask a physicist, though, and Einstein will only justscrape in there ahead of Richard Feynman. Feynman was both a superb scientist and a great storyteller. This lovely book, subtitled ‘adventures of a curious character’ is edited down from taped conversations with fellow scientist and friend, Ralph Leighton. It’s a sort of informal autobiography, in that it runs through Feynman’s life, but it consists of series of anecdotes, often very funny, of things that happened to this remarkable man. And they certainly did happen. During the Second World War, for instance, Feynman was working on the project to develop the atomic bomb. Feynman made significant contributions, but his stories are mostly about safe-breaking and lock picking. He was very suspicious of the security regime, which said that everything should be locked away, but then provided inadequate secure…