P. Feynman – Biography
Richard P. Feynman
was born in New York City on the 11th May 1918. He studied at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology where he obtained his B.Sc. in 1939 and at Princeton
University where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1942. He was Research Assistant
at Princeton (1940-1941), Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cornell
University (1945-1950), Visiting Professor and thereafter appointed
Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology
(1950-1959). At present he is Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical
Physics at the California Institute of Technology.
is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association
for the Advancement of Science; the National Academy of Science; in
1965 he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society, London (Great
He holds the following
awards: Albert Einstein Award (1954, Princeton); Einstein Award (Albert
Einstein Award College of Medicine); Lawrence Award (1962).
is married to Gweneth Howarth, they have a son, Carl Richard (born 22nd
April 1961), and a daughter Michelle Catherine (born 13th August 1968).
From Nobel Lectures.
Physics 1963-1970, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972
was written at the time of the award and later published in the book
series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is sometimes updated
with an addendum submitted by the Laureate. To cite this document, always
state the source as shown above.
Richard P. Feynman
died in 1988
Richard P. Feynman,
biography of a man who was always admired for his wit, intelligence,
independence and a never-ending curiosity.
Quantum theory of
the electromagnetic field (of electricity and magnetism, and of the
ripples in the field that are light and X-rays & radio waves) was
a puzzle for the scientists when Richard Feynman was in college. Since
great scientists of that period could not find a satisfying theory Feynman
decided to simply ignore what they said and decided to proceed with
his own research in the field.
Years later he came
up with new quantum theory (Quantum electrodynamics) which brought him
a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965. His theory has been proved to be
the most accurate scientific theory created.
was born on May 11, 1918 in Brooklyn to Lucille and Melville Feynman.
Since childhood he was known for his fascination towards science and
He almost reinvented
everything that he studied. While in school, rather than learning trigonometry
from the book, he reinvented all the formulas himself: he was quite
successful. On his summer job he invented a new method for carrying
many dishes at a time and to cut many beans at a time, however, not
always in this was he successful. While working on the atom bomb at
Los Alamos he figured out how to crack top-secret safes and just for
amusement he took every opportunity to open them.
He got his Bachelor
of Science degree from MIT in 1939 and received his doctorate at Princeton
University in 1942.
In 1942 he got married
to his childhood sweetheart, Arlene Greenbaum, who was suffering from
fatal tuberculosis of lymphatic system. In 1945 she died in the hospital.
Feynman could never really get over his grief of losing her.
Later he married
Mary Louise Bell that ended in divorce. In 1960 he married for the third
time to Gweneth Howarth. This marriage is believed to be a happy relationship.
He got a son out of this wedlock and adopted a daughter.
Feynman was a born
teacher. He felt that it was teaching that gave him a sense of achievement
and growth. He felt stagnant when he was not teaching. He tried to bring
everything to the freshmans level. If he could not explain some subject
at that level he would admit that he has not understood it. He was extremely
honest and independent in his behavior. He enjoyed being with undergraduate
In his attempt to
revive the Cal-tech physics syllabus for freshmen he produced three
valuable books in a series called Feynmans lectures on Physics. By now
they have become classics. In those lectures he recreated almost everything
In 1986 he was appointed
to the committee investigating the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
That was the real test of his independence. Away from bureaucracy he
pursued his investigation in his own way and finally identified the
problem. The night before the shuttle took off it was so cold that the
ice was built up on the shuttle. He showed publicly how rubber loses
all its resilience when dropped in iced water, which was self-explanatory.
Mark Kac, referred him to as a magician. Feynman perhaps was the most
famous scientist in his time. His books, his services right from developing
an atom bomb to probing into Challenger mystery made him quite popular
among people. Yet this showmanship was just an act. In reality he was
a very private person who described Nobel Prize as a pain in the neck
as it gave him enormous publicity that started interfering his research
He was always admired
for his wit, intelligence, independence and a never-ending curiosity.
He was never satisfied with what he knew and always continued to question
science. His curiosity was not restricted to science only. Anything
that puzzled him became a challenge to be solved for him.
He was not at all
possessive towards his research findings. When he discovered that a
young colleague has come with some work, which he had done long before
but never published, he allowed him to take the credit for the research.
Yet he could be insensitive and cruel to those who would fall below
his expectations. He would insult anything that was non-scientific.
He would also tease visiting lecturers. At times he was clownish and
boasting. For many undergraduates he was a fun but his colleagues had
mixed reactions about him. Although no one had a doubt about his extraordinary
understanding of physics he was often referred to as half genius and
Until two weeks
before his death he continued to lecture in California Institute of
technology. His last lecture was on curved space-time. Feynman died
in 1988 after a decade long battle with cancer.
Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) (surname pronounced
"fine-man") was one of the most influential American physicists
of the 20th century, expanding greatly the theory of quantum electrodynamics.
As well as being an inspiring lecturer and musician, he helped in the
development of the atomic bomb and was later a member of the panel which
investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. For his work on
quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was one of the recipients of the Nobel
Prize in Physics for 1965.
He is also famous
for his many adventures, detailed in the books Surely You're Joking,
Mr Feynman!, What Do You Care What Other People Think? and Tuva Or Bust!.
Richard Feynman was, in many respects, an eccentric person and was not
ashamed of it.