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I look at life with detachment and distance, like a window shopper. Not only I study the window but also my own reflections in it.

Some Time With Feynman

Thursday, September 08, 2005 1 comments

This is the title of a book written by Leonard Mlodinow - a Caltech Scientist. He reminisces about the time he spent discussing Physics with Richard Feynman. Many of us have known about the genius of Feynman. Many like me have been weaned on "Feynman Lectures on Physics" But what was the man like?
While we show excessive interest in private lives of other celebrities, we think that bosses, teachers and scientists etc are just automatons having no private life. It is however more educative to see under what private deprivations, the Scientists achieved their Nobles.
Feynman knowingly married a TB afflicted girl who died young, leaving him devastated. He suffered from Cancer of intestines in last decade of his life. This book slowly sketches out the man and his philosophy. It was simply that - "One should do what interests one - rest (Success, recognition, rewards, conventions) be damned. Its the intensity and single focus with which one follows one's interest - that gives pleasure". His pleasures were in understanding laws of nature. He knew that he is going to die soon. But considered that, that would be a great moment to learn about the process of death.
He had a running rivalry with another Caltech Professor - Murray Gell-Mann, who gave quarks its name. The book gives a warm and delightful narration of this constructive rivalry.
If you can sustain first two chapters - rest are really interesting for Science lovers.

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  • Anonymous September 08, 2005 10:21 PM
     

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