Surely You\’re Joking Mr.Feynman


By Richard P. Feynman

Released : 27/03/2021

Reviewed : 7/03/2021

Reviewed by : Linthoingambi Ningthoujam


Richard P. Feynman was the most famous and one of the world\’s greatest theoretical physicist.He was also an artist(under the pseudo name Ofey), a safecracker, practical joker, storyteller and enthusiastic bongo drummer. He wins Novel Prize for physics in 1965 for his work on QED ( Quantum Electro Dynamics ). He was also known for his funny and outgoing personality, his gift for exposition and his testimony to the Presidential Commission on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster.

The stories in this book were collected intermittently and informally during seven years of drumming with Ralph Leighton. You will find each story to be amazing, awesome, amusing and inspiring. You will be amazed to find that one person could have so many wonderfully crazy things happen to him and could invent so much innocent mischief in one\’s Life.

This book contains five parts. Part One : From Far Rockaway to MIT.

In this part, he gave a glimpse of his childhood to his MIT years. From childhood, he was fascinated by science. He set up a lab in his home which consists of an old wooden packing box, a heater, a storage battery and a lamp bank. He brought radios at rummage sales and tried to fix them. He got his first job at a hotel run by his aunt. They hired him to repair the radio. It wasn\’t hard for him to fix a radio by noticing that something wasn\’t working right and he would fix it.

He loves to solve puzzles. In high school, during the first period, a guy came to him with a puzzle. He would not stop until he solved it. It would take him 15/20 minutes. But during the day other guys came to him with the same problem and he would do it in a flash. So, he got a fancy reputation during high school, that every puzzle that was known to man comes to him.

During summer when he was 17/18 years old he worked a part-time job at the hotel run by his aunt. He tried to make things work better there but not in a regular way, he often got himself into trouble. In one incident, while trying to cut string beans, he ends up cutting his finger.

Part Two: The Princeton years

One night Dr Eisenhart the dean of the Princeton Graduate College got up and said

\” Two weeks from now a professor of psychology is coming to give a talk about hypnosis. Now, this professor thought it would be much better if we had a real demonstration of hypnosis instead of just talking about it. Therefore he would like some volunteers to be hypnotized. And so I would like to ask if there are any interested who would like to volunteer…….\” Feynman was really excited that he got a chance to find out about hypnosis. Before Dr Eisenhart even completed his speech, he raised his hand and shout out of his seat screaming as loud as he can to make sure he heard him\”MEEEEEEE!\” He heard him because there wasn\’t another soul. His voice reverberated throughout the hall. Dr Eisenhart\’s immediate reaction was\” Yes, of course, I knew you would volunteer Mr Feynman but I was wondering if there would be anybody else \”

Part Three: Feynman, The Bomb and the military.

This part was about him trying to join the military and his work on the Manhattan Project(during which his first wife Arlene Greenbum died due to tuberculosis).

Part Four: From Cornell to Caltech, with a touch of Brazil. This part was about his years of experience and incidents as a professor at Cornell and Caltech University. Before he works at Caltech, he visits the Center for Physical Research in Brazil. He joined a samba school there, besides giving lectures to the students and he even participated in a special competition between the samba schools during Carnaval in which they won.

Part five: The World of One Physicist. This part is a collection of his memories, how he learnt art, his visits to Japan, his reaction to what was teaching in the books of Maths and Science when he was in the State Curriculum Commission and his experience with an altered state.


Happy Reading ?

1 thought on “Surely You\’re Joking Mr.Feynman”

  1. The story of the best Science Communicator to have walked on this planet, Dr Richard P Feynman. He was asked to teach Undergraduate Physics at Caltech, his lecture notes and teaching materials were so to the point that, it later came to be known as Feynman Lectures on Physics become a reference to many of the college physics books to come. His line “the inconceivable nature of Nature” is one of the core themes that drives me as a scientist to this day. The book is plainly written and is worth the read, he is joking, but he ain’t. Nice review!

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