Tuva or Bust!: Richard Feynman's Last Journey

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9780140174854: Tuva or Bust!: Richard Feynman's Last Journey

This is the third of the biographical books by Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman, following on from "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman?" and "What Do You Care What Other People Think?". Written after Feynman's death, this book tells the story of their obsession with the town of Tuva in the Soviet Union and their plans to visit which were cut short by Feynman's early death.

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Review:

Richard Feynman, brilliant physicist and inspirational teacher, wasn't much for coats and ties. He lived a life that the adjective "bohemian" doesn't begin to cover, scripting percussion scores for avant-garde ballet troupes, musing over life's imponderables, and delighting and annoying his many friends with odd-duck questions--all the while teaching generations of students at CalTech.

Always adventurous, Feynman was also a careful planner, recounts his friend and fellow drummer Ralph Leighton in this affectionate memoir. When a chance remark happened to dislodge a long-dormant memory of a faraway Siberian land called Tannu-Tuva, Feynman and Leighton set about scheming to get there--a program that included learning the little-described Tuvan language, picking up the rudiments of throat singing, and reading the scattered, hard-to-find literature concerning a place that, in Feynman's fond view, was as close to paradise as the earth contained. It also involved corresponding with scholars in what was still the Soviet Union and wrangling with bureaucrats to secure the necessary papers--all for the sake of seeing a country that had to be interesting, Feynman insisted, just because its capital, Kyzyl, had such an odd spelling.

These picaresque armchair adventures make up the bulk of Tuva or Bust, an unconventional mix of travelogue and scientific biography that's a pleasure to read at every turn. The book yields a memorable picture of Richard Feynman--who did not live to see Tuva, but whose memory is honored there today, thanks to Leighton's refusal to abandon their shared dream. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Richard Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 in Brooklyn, NY. He attended MIT and was awarded his Ph.D. from Princeton University. During World War II, he participated in the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. After the war, he accepted a teaching position at Cornell University, and in 1950, he accepted a position at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He remained there until his death in 1988. Feynman is well-known for his work in quantumelectrodynamics (QED), which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He also contributed to the understanding of superfluidity in liquid helium and the underlying causes of the Challenger shuttle explosion. Feynman reached popular audiences through his semi-autobiographical books, and is respected for his humor, storytelling, and bongo playing. He is considered by many to be the greatest and most popular physicist in modern times.

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Ralph Leighton
Published by Penguin Books Ltd (1993)
ISBN 10: 0140174850 ISBN 13: 9780140174854
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140174850

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