Sure You're Joking Mr. Feynman

date Jan 18, 2008
authors Richard P. Feynman
reading time 2 mins
  • Book Title: Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!
  • Author: Richard P. Feynman
  • Year written/published: 1985
  • Book Source: Google Books, Library
  • Summary: Collection of very short stories about Feynman’s adventures of being an inquisitive person.
  • My Comments: This book is so humorous that instead of being in the physics section of the library, it must be in the fun section. Through these little stories you get the lessons out for life - learning and investing is all about having fun and being inquisitive!!
  • Contents page:
  1. Far from rockaway to MIT
  2. The Princeton Years
  3. Feynman, the Bomb and the Millitary
  4. From Cornell to Caltech, with a touch of Brazil
  5. The world of Physics

Some extracts:

about symbols… seriously this is what i call true learning… often kids just gobble up what’s given to them and take these representations as unchageable and the ultimate truth

While I was doing all this trigonometry, I didn’t like the symbols for sine, cosine, tangent and so on. TO me, “sin f” looked like s time I times n times f! So I invented another symbol, like a square root sign, that was a sigma with a long arm sticking out of it, and I put the f underneath…. … I didn’t like f(x) – that looked to me like f time x. I also didn’t like dy/dx – you have a tendency to cancel the d’s – so _ made a different sign, something like an & sign. … …  I thought my symbols were just as good, if not better, that the regular symbols – it doesn’t make any difference to what symbols you use.

fixing radios as a kid…

SO the guy says, “ What are you doing? You come to fix the radio, but you’re only walking back and forth!” I say, “I’m thinking!” … … So I changed the tubes around, stepped to the front of the radio, turned the thing on, and it’s quiet as a lamb… When a person has been negative to you, and then you so something like that, they’re usually a 100% the other way, kind of to compensate…. … kept telling everybody what a tremendous genius I was, saying, “He fixes radios by think!”

in front of eminent scientists…

A day or 2 before the walk I saw Wigner in the hall. “Feynman,” he said, I think that work you’re doing with Wheeler is very interesting, so I’ve invited Russell to the seminar…” Henry Norris Russell, the famous, great astronomer of the day was coming to the lecture! Wigner went on. Wigner went on. “I think Professor von Neumann would also be interested.” Johnny Von Neumann was the greatest mathematician around. “And Professor Pauli visiting from Switzerland, it also happens so I’ve invited Professor Pauli to come” – Pauli was a very famous scientist – and by the time, I’m turning yellow. Finally Wigner said, “Professor Einstein only rarely comes to our weekly seminars, but your work is so interesting that I’ve invited him specially, so he’s coming too.” Bt this time I must have turned green, because Wigner said, “ No no! Don’t worry! I’ll just warn you!…. ….”