Richard Feynman was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, his work on quantum electrodynamics underpins modern particle physics. He was also a true eccentric, larger than life, who approached scientific experiments and practical jokes with equal gusto. This engaging collection of autobiographical vignettes shows us the formation of a genius.
Whether investigating the fundamental questions of physics, inviting waitresses to exclusive Ivy League dances, or learning to crack safes, Feynman’s instinct was always to disregard authority and find out for himself, as he put it, ‘how things work’. His life was one constant experiment: at MIT, he set his hands on fire, volunteered to be hypnotised and drank three cans of Coca-Cola with six aspirin to disprove the myth that this would be fatal. At Princeton he enrolled in a course on biology for fun, and caused a stir by walking into the library and asking for a ‘map of the cat’. His exploits are endlessly entertaining, but there is never any doubt that a great mind is at work. Robustly independent, insatiably curious and taking nothing for granted, Feynman gives insights into his encounters with Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr, and his role in building the atom bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Brian Cox is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Physics at the University of Manchester. In his introduction, he describes how his own work at the Large Hadron Collider builds on Feynman’s discoveries, and celebrates the 'alchemical collision of intellectual brilliance, physical intuition and buffoonery that gave Richard Feynman his uniquely potent character.' Illustrations by the Belgian artist Aude van Ryn capture the irrepressible nature of Feynman’s exploits.
Review by mfujdala on 20th Sep 2012
"I am very impressed with this edition of "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman". I expected the impeccably chosen period photographs, but I just love that Folio commissioned an illustrator as well. A w..." [read more]