Richard Feynman: A Life in Science (Penguin Press Science)

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9780140253344: Richard Feynman: A Life in Science (Penguin Press Science)

This text is a portrayal of one of the greatest scientists of the late 20th-century, which also provides a picture of the significant physics of the period. It combines personal anecdotes, writings and recollections with narrative. Richard Feynman's career included: war-time work on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos; a theory of quantum mechanics for which he won the Nobel prize; and major contributions to the sciences of gravity, nuclear physics and particle theory. In 1986, he was able to show that the Challenger disaster was due to the effect of cold on the booster rocket rubber sealings.

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Review:

Richard Feynman was something of a rarity: a science superstar. Like another superstar who preceded him, Albert Einstein, Feynman's science was ahead of his time, but it was his qualities as a human being that caught the imaginations of ordinary people. A whole body of legend has grown up around the man--much of it promulgated by Feynman himself--and nearly 10 years after his death he remains a popular subject of memoirs, biographies, and even films. In Richard Feynman, respected science writers John and Mary Gribbins combine biography with popular science in this absorbing look at the great man's life and work.

Though there's little new information about Feynman's personal life and interests here--everything from his passion for bongo drums to his fascination with the country of Tuva has been documented many times and in many places before now--the Gribbons do an exemplary job of explaining just why Feyman was such a giant among physicists. Quanatum theory is the kind of subject that could give the average reader a raging headache, yet the Gribbons explain it so well that by the end of Richard Feynman even the most non-scientific among us will be able to appreciate just what a singular contribution to our world this science superstar made.

About the Author:

John Gribbin, Ph.D., trained as an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge before becoming a full-time science writer. His books include the highly acclaimed In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, The First Chimpanzee, In Search of the Big Bang, In the Beginning, In Search of the Edge of Time, In Search of the Double Helix, The Stuff of the Universe (with Martin Rees), Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science, and Einstein: A Life in Science (with Michael White). He lives in East Sussex with his wife and two sons.


Mary Gribbin is best known as a writer of science books for young readers. Together with her husband, John Gribbin, she has written several science books, including Richard Feynman: A Life in Science and Ice Age.

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