James Gleick

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

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An illuminating portrayal of Richard Feynman—a giant of twentieth century physics—from his childhood tinkering with radios, to his vital work on the Manhattan Project and beyond 
Raised in Depression-era Rockaway Beach, physicist Richard Feynman was irreverent, eccentric, and childishly enthusiastic—a new kind of scientist in a field that was in its infancy. His quick mastery of quantum mechanics earned him a place at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project under J. Robert Oppenheimer, where the giddy young man held his own among the nation’s greatest minds. There, Feynman turned theory into practice, culminating in the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945, when the Atomic Age was born. He was only twenty-seven. And he was just getting started. In this sweeping biography, James Gleick captures the forceful personality of a great man, integrating Feynman’s work and life in a way that is accessible to laymen and fascinating for the scientists who follow in his footsteps.
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885 printed pages
Original publication
2011
Publication year
2011
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Quotes

    Andre Franciscohas quotedlast year
    Afterward demons afflicted the bomb makers. J. Robert Oppenheimer made speeches about his shadowed soul, and other physicists began to feel his uneasiness at having handed humanity the power of self-destruction.
    Stasya Zhas quoted3 years ago
    gists. In his youth he experimented for months on end with trying to observe his unraveling stream of consciousness at the point of falling asleep
    Stasya Zhas quoted3 years ago
    There are two kinds of geniuses, the “ordinary” and the “magicians.” An ordinary genius is a fellow that you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. Once we understand what they have done, we feel certain that we, too, could have done it. It is different with the magicians. They are, to use mathematical jargon, in the orthogonal complement of where we are and the working of their minds is for all intents and purposes incomprehensible. Even after we understand what they have done, the process by which they have done it is completely dark

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