The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

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9780141031439: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out collects the best short works of rule-breaking genius Richard Feynman, showing his passion for knowledge and sense of fun at their most infectious.

The revealing and inspiring pieces here span a lifetime of enthusiasm for discovering what makes the world tick - including uproarious tales of early student experiments; safecracking and outwitting US censors during the Second World War; his first lecture as a graduate student (to an audience including Albert Einstein); and the memories of the father who delighted in showing him the world and sparked his insatiable curiosity.

'His immense intelligence, irrepressible wit and touching optimism radiate from every page'
  Independent on Sunday

'The reason why people such as Feynman "do" science is simply because it is there - the thrill of finding out how the world works'
  John Gribbin

'A sparkling collection'
  Wall Street Journal

'The authentic voice of Feynman, always playing with ideas but always serious about the things that mattered to him'
  Freeman Dyson

Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was one of this century's most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. Feynman's other books, also available in Penguin, include QED, Six Easy Pieces, Six Not-so-Easy Pieces, Don't You Have Time to Think, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, What Do You Care What Other People Think? and The Meaning of it All.

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Review:

More gems from the Feynman factory. If some things are old or borrowed, it hardly matters: there are enough new or unfamiliar to charm fans. Since the Nobel laureate's death, there have been biographies, "as-told-to" accounts, and various interviews and selected writings that continue to reveal the workings of one of the most remarkable and inventive minds in physics. But part and parcel with the revelations of genius are the pranks and idiosyncrasies that have built the Feynman legend of bongo player, gambler, bon vivant, and girl watcher. The current collection replays a few of those choice bits. But it's much more a picture of Feynman as passionate and scrupulously honest scientist, insisting always that truth is never absolute. There is much homage to his father, who inspired the habit of asking questions that go to the heart of the matter of how and why things work. A wonderful Caltech graduation speech allows him to contrast real with pseudoscience and speaks to the absolute necessity of providing one's peers with all the information they need to judge one's work. There's a lovely reminiscence of himself as a nervous 24-year-old asked to present a seminar at Princeton before a group that included Eugene Wigner, John Wheeler, Wolfgang Pauli, John von Neumann and Albert Einstein. When it's over, Pauli gets up and turns to Einstein and says, don't you agree that this theory cannot be right? To which Einstein replies, "N-o-o-o." "Nicest no I ever heard," Feynman says. The collection includes Feynman's insightful minority report on the Challenger disaster, his well-known disdainful comments on philosophy and behavioral science, his despair of today's cultural ignorance of the nature of science, and his prescient thoughts on parallel processing for computers and principles of miniaturization we now call nanotechnology. All said, of course, in the idiom of the boy from New York whose pleasure in finding things out affords the reader another sort of pleasure. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author:

One of the world's greatest theoretical physicists and a Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safe-cracker, practical joker and storyteller, his life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism.

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