Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P

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9780141031439: Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P

"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:

Why do we do science? Beyond altruistic and self-aggrandizing motivations, many of our best scientists work long hours seeking the electric thrill that comes only from learning something that nobody knew before. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, a collection of previously unpublished or difficult-to-find short works by maverick physicist Richard Feynman, takes its title from his own answer. From TV interview transcripts to his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, we see his quick, sharp wit, his devotion to his work, and his unwillingness to bow to social pressure or convention. It's no wonder he was only grudgingly admired by the establishment during his lifetime--read his "Minority Report to the Space Shuttle Challenger Inquiry" to see him blowing off political considerations as impediments to finding the truth.

Feynman had a fantastic sense of humor, and his memoirs of his Manhattan Project days roil with fun despite his later misgivings about nuclear weapons. Though one or two pieces are a bit hard to follow for the nontechnical reader, for the most part the book is easygoing and engaging on a personal rather than a scientific level. Freeman Dyson's foreword and editor Jeffrey Robbins's introductions to each essay set the stage well and are respectful without being worshipful. Though Feynman has been gone now for many years, his work lives on in quantum physics, computer design, and nanotechnology; like any great scientist, he asked more questions than he answered, to give future generations the pleasure of finding things out. --Rob Lightner

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6 1.5-hour cassettes

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Feynman, Richard Phillips
Published by Penguin Books, Limited (UK) 2010-05-01 (2010)
ISBN 10: 0141031433 ISBN 13: 9780141031439
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