Book Club Picks Physics

100 Years of Feynman

Today marks the 100th birthday of Richard Feynman. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist, born May 11, 1918 and died 1988, authored many books (some compiled and published post-humorously), including :

  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character (1985)
  • What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character (1988)
  • No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman (1996)
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher (1994)
  • Six Not So Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry and Space-Time (1997)
  • The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist (1998)
  • The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman (1999)
  • Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character (2005)

Click on a book cover to purchase from Powell’s:

  

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To celebrate this feyn centennial, Caltech is putting on a weekend of activities (sold out but live streaming tonight), called Feynman 100, which includes lectures by his sister Joan Feynman, daughter Michelle Feynman, Freeman Dyson, Janna Levin, Robbert Dijkgraaf, John Preskill, Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Leonard Susskind, Kip Thorne, Rana Adhikari, Jason Alicea, David Gross, Christopher Monroe, Hirosi Ooguri, Lisa Randall, Sara Seager, and Michael Turner.

Live stream here starting at 8:00 PT

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In the forthcoming radio documentary about Feynman, All Genius, All Buffoon, Dr. Helen Czerski, author of Storm in a Teacup, says of Feynman, “His influence on science went far beyond the technical because he gave other people permission to muck about. He gave people permission to do science differently.” The documentary will be on CosmicShambles.com later this May.

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I’d also like to make a personal recommendation. There’s a graphic “novel” (non-fiction) called Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, which is a truly superb telling of Feynman’s a-typical life with pleasing illustrations that look like this:

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You hear the bongos in that book trailer? Not only was Feynman a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, best-selling author, and safe-cracker, but he was also an exceptional bongo player. Here he is shortly before his death singing about orange juice:

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