Richard Phillips Feynman (/ˈfaɪnmən/; May 11, 1918 – February 15,
1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the
path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum
electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled
liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed
the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum
electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with
Contents 1 Early life
2 Education
3 Manhattan Project
4 Cornell
5
5.1 Personal and political life 5.2 Physics 5.3 Pedagogy 5.4 Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman 5.5 Challenger disaster 5.6 Recognition and awards 6 Death 7 Popular legacy 8 Bibliography 8.1 Selected scientific works 8.2 Textbooks and lecture notes 8.3 Popular works 8.4 Audio and video recordings 9 Notes 10 References 11 Further reading 11.1 Articles 11.2 Books 11.3 Films and plays 12 External links Early life[edit]
Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918, in Queens, New York
City,[2] to Lucille née Phillips, a homemaker, and Melville
Arthur Feynman, a sales manager,[3] originally from
I suspect that this test emphasized verbal, as opposed to mathematical, ability. Feynman received the highest score in the United States by a large margin on the notoriously difficult Putnam mathematics competition exam... He also had the highest scores on record on the math/physics graduate admission exams at Princeton... Feynman's cognitive abilities might have been a bit lopsided... I recall looking at excerpts from a notebook Feynman kept while an undergraduate... [it] contained a number of misspellings and grammatical errors. I doubt Feynman cared very much about such things.[20] When Feynman was 15, he taught himself trigonometry, advanced algebra,
infinite series, analytic geometry, and both differential and integral
calculus.[21] Before entering college, he was experimenting with and
deriving mathematical topics such as the half-derivative using his own
notation.[22] He created special symbols for logarithm, sine, cosine
and tangent functions so they didn't look like three variables
multiplied together, and for the derivative, to remove the temptation
of canceling out the d's.[23][24] A member of the Arista Honor
Society, in his last year in high school he won the New York
University Math Championship.[25] His habit of direct characterization
sometimes rattled more conventional thinkers; for example, one of his
questions, when learning feline anatomy, was "Do you have a map of the
cat?" (referring to an anatomical chart).[26]
Feynman applied to
Vallarta let his student in on a secret of mentor-protégé publishing: the senior scientist's name comes first. Feynman had his revenge a few years later, when Heisenberg concluded an entire book in cosmic rays with the phrase: "such an effect is not to be expected according to Vallarta and Feynman." When they next met, Feynman asked gleefully whether Vallarta had seen Heisenberg's book. Vallarta knew why Feynman was grinning. "Yes," he replied. "You're the last word in cosmic rays."[30] The other was his senior thesis, on "The Forces in Molecules",[31]
based on an idea by John C. Slater, who was sufficiently impressed by
the paper to have it published. Today, it is known as the
Hellmann–Feynman theorem.[32]
In 1939, Feynman received a bachelor's degree,[33] and was named a
Putnam Fellow.[34] He attained a perfect score on the graduate school
entrance exams to
This was
One of the conditions of Feynman's scholarship to Princeton was that
he could not be married; but he continued to see his high school
sweetheart, Arline Greenbaum, and was determined to marry her once he
had been awarded his Ph.D. despite the knowledge that she was
seriously ill with tuberculosis. This was an incurable disease at the
time, and she was not expected to live more than two years. On June
29, 1942, they took the
Feynman's Los Alamos ID badge In 1941, with
At the 1946 colloquium on the Super at the Los Alamos Laboratory. Feynman is in the second row, fourth from the left, next to Robert Oppenheimer Returning to Los Alamos, Feynman was put in charge of the group
responsible for the theoretical work and calculations on the proposed
uranium hydride bomb, which ultimately proved to be
infeasible.[52][61] He was sought out by physicist
Feynman (center) with
Feynman was working in the computing room when he was informed that
Arline was dying. He borrowed Fuchs' car and drove to Albuquerque
where he sat with her for hours until she died on June 16, 1945.[71]
He immersed himself in work on the project and was present at the
Trinity nuclear test. Feynman claimed to be the only person to see the
explosion without the very dark glasses or welder's lenses provided,
reasoning that it was safe to look through a truck windshield, as it
would screen out the harmful ultraviolet radiation. On witnessing the
blast, Feynman ducked towards the floor of his truck because of the
immense brightness of the explosion, where he saw a temporary "purple
splotch" afterimage of the event.[72]
Cornell[edit]
Feynman nominally held an appointment at the University of
Wisconsin–Madison as an assistant professor of physics, but was on
unpaid leave during his involvement in the Manhattan Project.[73] In
1945, he received a letter from Dean Mark Ingraham of the College of
Letters and Science requesting his return to the university to teach
in the coming academic year. His appointment was not extended when he
did not commit to returning. In a talk given there several years
later, Feynman quipped, "It's great to be back at the only university
that ever had the good sense to fire me."[74]
As early as October 30, 1943, Bethe had written to the chairman of the
physics department of his university, Cornell, to recommend that
Feynman be hired. On February 28, 1944, this was endorsed by Robert
Bacher,[75] also from Cornell,[76] and one of the most senior
scientists at Los Alamos.[77] This led to an offer being made in
August 1944, which Feynman accepted. Oppenheimer had also hoped to
recruit Feynman to the University of California, but the head of the
physics department,
Feynman was not the only frustrated theoretical physicist in the early
post-war years.
He begins working calculus problems in his head as soon as he awakens. He did calculus while driving in his car, while sitting in the living room, and while lying in bed at night. Mary Louise Bell, divorce complaint[119] In the wake of the 1957 Sputnik crisis, the U.S. government's interest
in science rose for a time. Feynman was considered for a seat on the
President's Science Advisory Committee, but was not appointed. At this
time the
I do not know—but I believe that
The government nevertheless sent Feynman to
With Murray Gell-Mann, Feynman developed a model of weak decay, which
showed that the current coupling in the process is a combination of
vector and axial currents (an example of weak decay is the decay of a
neutron into an electron, a proton, and an antineutrino). Although E.
C. George Sudarshan and
The Feynman section at the
In the early 1960s, Feynman acceded to a request to "spruce up" the
teaching of undergraduates at Caltech. After three years devoted to
the task, he produced a series of lectures that eventually became The
Feynman Lectures on Physics. He wanted a picture of a drumhead
sprinkled with powder to show the modes of vibration at the beginning
of the book. Concerned over the connections to drugs and rock and roll
that could be made from the image, the publishers changed the cover to
plain red, though they included a picture of him playing drums in the
foreword.
It will perhaps surprise most people who have studied these textbooks to discover that the symbol ∪ or ∩ representing union and intersection of sets and the special use of the brackets and so forth, all the elaborate notation for sets that is given in these books, almost never appear in any writings in theoretical physics, in engineering, in business arithmetic, computer design, or other places where mathematics is being used. I see no need or reason for this all to be explained or to be taught in school. It is not a useful way to express one's self. It is not a cogent and simple way. It is claimed to be precise, but precise for what purpose?[146] In April 1966, Feynman delivered an address to the National Science
Teachers Association, in which he suggested how students could be made
to think like scientists, be open-minded, curious, and especially, to
doubt. In the course of the lecture, he gave a definition of science,
which he said came about by several stages. The evolution of
intelligent life on planet Earth—creatures such as cats that play
and learn from experience. The evolution of humans, who came to use
language to pass knowledge from one individual to the next, so that
the knowledge was not lost when an individual died. Unfortunately,
incorrect knowledge could be passed down as well as correct knowledge,
so another step was needed.
The 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster Feynman played an important role on the Presidential Rogers
Commission, which investigated the Challenger disaster. During a
televised hearing, Feynman demonstrated that the material used in the
shuttle's O-rings became less resilient in cold weather by compressing
a sample of the material in a clamp and immersing it in ice-cold
water.[155] The commission ultimately determined that the disaster was
caused by the primary
Feynman, Richard P. (2000). Laurie M. Brown, ed. Selected Papers of
Richard Feynman: With Commentary. 20th Century Physics. World
Scientific. ISBN 978-981-02-4131-5.
Feynman, Richard P. (1942). Laurie M. Brown, ed. The Principle of
Least Action in Quantum Mechanics. PhD Dissertation, Princeton
University. World Scientific (with title Feynman's Thesis: a New
Approach to Quantum Theory) (published 2005).
ISBN 978-981-256-380-4.
Wheeler, John A.; Feynman, Richard P. (1945). "Interaction with the
Absorber as the Mechanism of Radiation". Reviews of Modern Physics. 17
(2–3): 157–181. Bibcode:1945RvMP...17..157W.
doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.17.157.
Feynman, Richard P. (1946). A Theorem and its Application to Finite
Tampers. Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Atomic Energy Commission.
OSTI 4341197.
Feynman, Richard P.; Welton, T. A. (1946).
Textbooks and lecture notes[edit]
Feynman, Richard P.; Leighton, Robert B.; Sands, Matthew (2005)
[1970]. The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The Definitive and Extended
Edition (2nd ed.). Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-8053-9045-6.
Includes Feynman's Tips on Physics (with Michael Gottlieb and Ralph
Leighton), which includes four previously unreleased lectures on
problem solving, exercises by Robert Leighton and Rochus Vogt, and a
historical essay by Matthew Sands. Three volumes; originally published
as separate volumes in 1964 and 1966.
Feynman, Richard P. (1961). Theory of Fundamental Processes. Addison
Wesley. ISBN 0-8053-2507-7.
Feynman, Richard P. (1962). Quantum Electrodynamics. Addison Wesley.
ISBN 978-0-8053-2501-0.
Feynman, Richard P.; Hibbs, Albert (1965). Quantum Mechanics and Path
Integrals. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-020650-3.
Feynman, Richard P. (1967). The Character of Physical Law: The 1964
Messenger Lectures. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-56003-8.
Feynman, Richard P. (1972). Statistical Mechanics: A Set of Lectures.
Reading, Mass: W. A. Benjamin. ISBN 0-8053-2509-3.
Feynman, Richard P. (1985b). QED: The Strange Theory of Light and
Matter.
Popular works[edit] Feynman, Richard P. (1985). Ralph Leighton, ed. Surely You're Joking,
Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character.
Audio and video recordings[edit] Safecracker Suite (a collection of drum pieces interspersed with
Feynman telling anecdotes)
Los Alamos From Below (audio, talk given by Feynman at Santa Barbara
on February 6, 1975)
Six Easy Pieces (original lectures upon which the book is based)
Six Not So Easy Pieces (original lectures upon which the book is
based)
The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The Complete Audio Collection
Samples of Feynman's drumming, chanting and speech are included in the
songs "
Notes[edit] ^ Tindol, Robert (December 2, 1999). "
References[edit] Bashe, Charles J.; Johnson, Lyle R.; Palmer, John H.; Pugh, Emerson W.
(1986). IBM's Early Computers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT.
ISBN 0-262-02225-7. OCLC 12021988.
Bethe, Hans A. (1991). The Road from Los Alamos. Masters of Modern
Physics. 2. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-74012-1.
OCLC 24734608.
Carroll, John Bissell (1996). Sternberg, Robert J.; Ben-Zeev, Talia,
eds. The Nature of Mathematical Thinking. Mahwah, New Jersey: L.
Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 978-0-8058-1799-7.
OCLC 34513302.
Chown, Marcus (May 2, 1985). "Strangeness and Charm". New Scientist:
34. ISSN 0262-4079.
Close, Frank (2011). The
Further reading[edit] Articles[edit] Physics Today,
Books[edit] Brown, Laurie M. and
Films and plays[edit] Infinity, a movie both directed by and starring
External links[edit] Los Alamos from Below on
v t e Richard Feynman Career Feynman diagram Feynman–Kac formula Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory Bethe–Feynman formula Hellmann–Feynman theorem Feynman slash notation Feynman parametrization Path integral formulation Sticky bead argument One-electron universe Quantum cellular automata Works "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" (1959) The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1964) The Character of Physical Law (1965) QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (1985) Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (1985) What Do You Care What Other People Think? (1988) Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun (1997) The Meaning of It All (1999) The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999) Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) Family Joan Feynman (sister) Related Cargo cult science
Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science
v t e Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1901–1925 1901 Röntgen 1902 Lorentz / Zeeman 1903 Becquerel / P. Curie / M. Curie 1904 Rayleigh 1905 Lenard 1906 J. J. Thomson 1907 Michelson 1908 Lippmann 1909 Marconi / Braun 1910 Van der Waals 1911 Wien 1912 Dalén 1913 Kamerlingh Onnes 1914 Laue 1915 W. L. Bragg / W. H. Bragg 1916 1917 Barkla 1918 Planck 1919 Stark 1920 Guillaume 1921 Einstein 1922 N. Bohr 1923 Millikan 1924 M. Siegbahn 1925 Franck / Hertz 1926–1950 1926 Perrin 1927 Compton / C. Wilson 1928 O. Richardson 1929 De Broglie 1930 Raman 1931 1932 Heisenberg 1933 Schrödinger / Dirac 1934 1935 Chadwick 1936 Hess / C. D. Anderson 1937 Davisson / G. P. Thomson 1938 Fermi 1939 Lawrence 1940 1941 1942 1943 Stern 1944 Rabi 1945 Pauli 1946 Bridgman 1947 Appleton 1948 Blackett 1949 Yukawa 1950 Powell 1951–1975 1951 Cockcroft / Walton 1952 Bloch / Purcell 1953 Zernike 1954 Born / Bothe 1955 Lamb / Kusch 1956 Shockley / Bardeen / Brattain 1957 C. N. Yang / T. D. Lee 1958 Cherenkov / Frank / Tamm 1959 Segrè / Chamberlain 1960 Glaser 1961 Hofstadter / Mössbauer 1962 Landau 1963 Wigner / Goeppert-Mayer / Jensen 1964 Townes / Basov / Prokhorov 1965 Tomonaga / Schwinger / Feynman 1966 Kastler 1967 Bethe 1968 Alvarez 1969 Gell-Mann 1970 Alfvén / Néel 1971 Gabor 1972 Bardeen / Cooper / Schrieffer 1973 Esaki / Giaever / Josephson 1974 Ryle / Hewish 1975 A. Bohr / Mottelson / Rainwater 1976–2000 1976 Richter / Ting 1977 P. W. Anderson / Mott / Van Vleck 1978 Kapitsa / Penzias / R. Wilson 1979 Glashow / Salam / Weinberg 1980 Cronin / Fitch 1981 Bloembergen / Schawlow / K. Siegbahn 1982 K. Wilson 1983 Chandrasekhar / Fowler 1984 Rubbia / Van der Meer 1985 von Klitzing 1986 Ruska / Binnig / Rohrer 1987 Bednorz / Müller 1988 Lederman / Schwartz / Steinberger 1989 Ramsey / Dehmelt / Paul 1990 Friedman / Kendall / R. Taylor 1991 de Gennes 1992 Charpak 1993 Hulse / J. Taylor 1994 Brockhouse / Shull 1995 Perl / Reines 1996 D. Lee / Osheroff / R. Richardson 1997 Chu / Cohen-Tannoudji / Phillips 1998 Laughlin / Störmer / Tsui 1999 't Hooft / Veltman 2000 Alferov / Kroemer / Kilby 2001– present 2001 Cornell / Ketterle / Wieman 2002 Davis / Koshiba / Giacconi 2003 Abrikosov / Ginzburg / Leggett 2004 Gross / Politzer / Wilczek 2005 Glauber / Hall / Hänsch 2006 Mather / Smoot 2007 Fert / Grünberg 2008 Nambu / Kobayashi / Maskawa 2009 Kao / Boyle / Smith 2010 Geim / Novoselov 2011 Perlmutter / Riess / Schmidt 2012 Wineland / Haroche 2013 Englert / Higgs 2014 Akasaki / Amano / Nakamura 2015 Kajita / McDonald 2016 Thouless / Haldane / Kosterlitz 2017 Weiss / Barish / Thorne v t e Manhattan Project Timeline Sites Ames Berkeley Chicago Dayton Hanford Inyokern Los Alamos Montreal New York Oak Ridge Trinity Wendover Heavy water sites Administrators Vannevar Bush Arthur Compton James Conant Priscilla Duffield Thomas Farrell Leslie Groves John Lansdale Ernest Lawrence James Marshall Franklin Matthias Dorothy McKibbin Kenneth Nichols Robert Oppenheimer Deak Parsons William Purnell Frank Spedding Charles Thomas Paul Tibbets Bud Uanna Harold Urey Stafford Warren Ed Westcott Roscoe Wilson Scientists Luis Alvarez Robert Bacher Hans Bethe Aage Bohr Niels Bohr Norris Bradbury James Chadwick John Cockcroft Harry Daghlian Enrico Fermi Richard Feynman Val Fitch James Franck Klaus Fuchs Maria Goeppert-Mayer George Kistiakowsky George Koval Willard Libby Edwin McMillan Mark Oliphant Norman Ramsey Isidor Isaac Rabi James Rainwater Bruno Rossi Glenn Seaborg Emilio Segrè Louis Slotin Henry DeWolf Smyth Leo Szilard Edward Teller Stanisław Ulam John von Neumann John Wheeler Eugene Wigner Robert Wilson Leona Woods Operations Alsos Mission Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Operation Crossroads Operation Peppermint Project Alberta Silverplate 509th Composite Group Enola Gay Bockscar The Great Artiste Weapons Fat Man Little Boy Pumpkin bomb Thin Man Related topics Atomic Energy Act of 1946 British contribution Chicago Pile-1 Demon core Einstein–Szilárd letter Interim Committee Oppenheimer security hearing Plutonium Quebec Agreement RaLa Experiment S-1 Executive Committee S-50 Project Smyth Report Uranium X-10 Graphite Reactor Manhattan Project Portals Access related topics
Find out more on's Sister projects Media from Commons Quotations from Wikiquote Data from Wikidata Authority control WorldCat Identities VIAF: 44298691 LCCN: n50002729 ISNI: 0000 0001 2096 0218 GND: 118827545 SELIBR: 186834 SUDOC: 026864215 BNF: cb119027159 (data) ULAN: 500279034 MusicBrainz: 5338b697-7647-4bd8-a288-c0fef9bba9f4 MGP: 91222 NDL: 00439462 NKC: jn19990002244 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV59930 BNE: XX1084 |