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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Life & Work of Richard Feynman Explored in a Three-Half Freakonomics Radio Miniseries

Right here at Open Cul­ture, Richard Feyn­man is nev­er removed from our minds. Although he dis­tin­guished him­self along with his work on the devel­op­ment of the atom­ic bomb and his Nobel Prize-win­ning analysis on quan­tum elec­tro­dy­nam­ics, you want no spe­cial inter­est in both World Conflict II or the­o­ret­i­cal physics to look to him as an intel­lec­tu­al mod­el. Within the years after his demise in 1988, his leg­finish grew as not only a sci­en­tif­ic thoughts however much more in order a ver­i­ta­ble per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of curios­i­ty, sur­spherical­ed by sto­ries (delib­er­ate­ly cul­ti­vat­ed by him in his life­time) of safe-crack­ing, bon­go-play­ing, and nude mod­el-draw­ing, to the purpose that Feyn­man the person turned some­what onerous to dis­cern.

Within the view of Freako­nom­ics Radio host Stephen Dub­n­er, Feyn­man’s pub­lic professional­file has late­ly fall­en into an unfor­tu­nate desue­tude. Evidently peo­ple simply don’t discuss him the way in which they used to, onerous although that’s to imag­ine for any of us who grew up learn­ing col­lec­tions of anec­dotes like Certain­ly You’re Jok­ing, Mr. Feyn­man!.

Oper­at­ing on the sup­po­si­tion that we may all use extra Feyn­man in our lives, Freako­nom­ics Radio has, over the previous month, put out a three-part sequence cov­er­ing his life and work, from his recruit­ment to the Man­hat­tan Venture and lat­er pub­lic analy­sis of the Chal­lenger dis­as­ter to his years train­ing at Cal­tech to his late-in-life exper­i­males­ta­tion with psy­che­del­ic sub­stances (fur­ther explored in a fourth, bonus episode).

“The Curi­ous, Bril­liant, Van­ish­ing Mr. Feyn­man” (additionally avail­in a position on Apple and Spo­ti­fy) features a vari­ety of inter­views with its sub­jec­t’s buddies, rel­a­tives, col­lab­o­ra­tors, and suc­ces­sors. All communicate excessive­ly of him, although some com­pli­cate the leg­finish by look­ing on the down­sides of his idio­syn­crat­ic atti­tudes towards each sci­ence and the social world: his insis­tence on underneath­stand­ing each­factor by fig­ur­ing it out him­self from scratch might have led to him mak­ing few­er dis­cov­er­ies than he would have, had he made extra use of the analysis of oth­ers, and his enthu­si­asm for wom­ankind, let’s consider, man­i­fest­ed in ways in which would prob­a­bly gen­er­ate requires “can­cel­la­tion” right this moment. However simply as Feyn­man eschewed the label of “genius,” he nev­er claimed to be a per­fect human being. And moreover, it isn’t his social incli­na­tions and even his bon­go expertise we must always admire, however his ded­i­ca­tion to defeat­ing “awful concepts” — which, as he little doubt count on­ed, have solely professional­lif­er­at­ed since he left us.

Relat­ed con­tent:

What Made Richard Feyn­man One of many Most Admired Edu­ca­tors within the World

The Feyn­man Lec­tures on Physics, The Most Pop­u­lar Physics E-book Ever Writ­ten, Is Now Com­plete­ly On-line

How Richard Feynman’s Dia­grams Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Physics

Watch a New Ani­ma­tion of Richard Feynman’s Ode to the Gained­der of Life, with Music by Yo-Yo Ma

The “Feyn­man Tech­nique” for Research­ing Effec­tive­ly: An Ani­mat­ed Primer

“The Char­ac­ter of Phys­i­cal Legislation”: Richard Feynman’s Leg­endary Course Pre­despatched­ed at Cor­nell, 1964

Based mostly in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His tasks embrace the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the ebook The State­much less Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­ebook.

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