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Richard Feynman: A Unique Path. From a child to a world-famous scientist.

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Presentation on theme: "Richard Feynman: A Unique Path. From a child to a world-famous scientist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Richard Feynman: A Unique Path

2 From a child to a world-famous scientist

3 Outline Life Science Teaching

4 Life Born: May 11, 1918 in New York City Milleve Feynman: “… If it's a boy, he's going to be a scientist… “ Early Education: bored with humanity, history, literature, found spelling “illogical”…; deeply influenced by his father met a few good teachers (Mr. Bader,…) College: Graduated from MIT (Senior thesis: “Forces and stresses in molecules” advisor: John C Slater)

5 Life…cont’d Graduate School: Princeton (1939-1942) Thesis: “ The least action principle in quantum mechanics ” (Adviser: John A Wheeler) First marriage: to Arlene Greenbaum (1942-1945) Manhattan project: Los Alamos (1943-1946) Cornell Physics Faculty: 1946-1951 Caltech: Tolman Professor of Physics (1951-death)


7 Life…cont’d A letter written two years after Arlene’s death: “…I adore you sweetheart... I have met many nice girls, and I don't want to remain alone-but in two or three meetings they all turn to ashes. You only are left for me. You are real. My darling wife, I adore you….” “…Please excuse me for not mailing this-but I don't know your new address."

8 Life…cont’d Second marriage: to Mary Louise Bell (1952-1956) “He begins working calculus problems in his head as soon as he awakens. He did calculus while driving in his car, while sitting in the living room, and while lying in bed at night.”—Mary Louise Bell divorce complaint Third marriage: to Gweneth Howarth (1960- ) son (Carl, 1962) daughter (adopted Michelle, 1968)



11 Life…cont’d Feynman on his children: “I always thought I would be a specially good father because I wouldn’t try to push my kids into any particular direction. I wouldn’t try to turn them into scientists or intellectuals if they didn’t want it. I would be just as happy with them if they decided to be truck-drivers or guitar-players. In fact I would even like it better if they went out in the world and did something real instead of being professor like me. But they always find a way to hit back at you. My boy Carl for instance. There he is in his second year at MIT, and all he wants to do with his life is to become a god-damned philosopher!”

12 Life…cont’d Nobel prize: 1965 with Schwinger and Tomonaga (contribution to QED) Other recognitions: member of the National Academy of Science; foreign member of the Royal Society, London (Great Britain); Albert Einstein Award (1954, Princeton); Einstein Award (Albert Einstein Award College of Medicine); Lawrence Award (1962). Feynman on honor ture=player_embedded#! ture=player_embedded#


14 Life…cont’d Last part: illness, Challenger, and death 1978: first diagnosed with liposarcoma, underwent operation 1981: cancer returned, more operation 1986: The Challenger incident committee "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” 1988 (Feb. 15): woke from a coma”…I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring….”





19 Feynman’s carelessness for formality (Photo: with other Caltech Nobel Laureates)

20 Science Path integral formulation of QM (1942): ~  (path) exp(2  iS/h) Bohr’s objection: Feynman, you are crazy…


22 Science…cont’d Feynman diagram (1948) The Feynman diagram of the term


24 Science…cont’d Feynman-Hellman Theorem Undergraduate thesis (1939, MIT) Most-cited paper of Feynman (> 1800 times!)

25 Science…cont’d V-A Theory (1958) (Feynman, Gellman, Marshak, Sudarshan) The first correct theory of Weak Interaction “…the only law of Nature I could lay a name to…”

26 Science…cont’d Geometric Model for Laser Operation (his only work in applied physics) (Feynman, Vernon, Hellwarth: Joun. Appl. Phys., 1957) Complete analogy to dynamics (Block Equation) of NMR Leading to “Optical Bloch Equation” in Quantum Optics

27 Science…cont’d Theory of Superfluid Helium (1953-1958) Feynman (1954) Feynman and Cohen (1956) : path integral → partition function

28 Science…cont’d Nanotech Pioneer: “There’s plenty of room at the bottom…(1959) “…When we get to the very, very small world -…completely new opportunity for design. Atoms on a small scale…obey the laws of quantum mechanics…., and we can expect to do different things….We can use,…system involving quantized energy level, or interactions of quantized spins, etc.” Inspiration from biological systems: “ so much information is contained in so tiny spatial volume (that of a cell) …” The Feynman prizes: $1000 for building a motor of 1/64 inch cubed $1000 for shrinking the info of a page of a book by 1/25000 times, and read it with an electron microscope

29 Science…cont’d Pioneer of Quantum Computing P. A. Benioff : “ The computer as a physical system: a microscopic Hamiltonian model of computers as represented by Turing machines ” (1981) R. P. Feynman : “ Simulating physics with computers ” (1982) – “…because Nature is not classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of Nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical…” R. P. Feynman : “Quantum mechanical computers” IQEC/CLEO (1984); Opt. News (1985); Found. Phys. (1986) - -- ideas of quantum bits (2-state atoms) and quantum gates

30 Feynman and the Connection Machine

31 Science…cont’d Contribution in biology (genetics):

32 Teaching (Is Feynman a “good” teacher?) Feynman Lectures on Physics (1961-1963)

33 Teaching,…cont’d Great Explainer: explanation to layman… Diagrams, analogies, gestures, actions,… “Something I cannot create I do not understand” "Teaching and students keep life going, I would never accept a position in which somebody has invented a happy situation for me where I don't have to teach. Never." Challenge: Pauli’s Exclusion Principle




37 _f7vYDys&feature=related

38 Lecture on “Scientific Method” at Cornell (1964) 3FRw&feature=related

39 Teaching,…cont’d An address to high school teacher (1966) Question: What is  ?  = s1/d1 = s2/d2 = s3/d3 =…








47 Richard Feynman on God 0x4&NR=1&feature=endscreen

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