Richard Feynman

A couple of commenters to the If’n post below mentioned the name Richard Feynman as one whose ghost they wouldn’t mind having around. Richard Feynman is a name I had heard before, but I wasn’t sure why I knew it or who he was. Jane asked me who he was and I told her I thought he was an economist.

I was wrong. Richard Feynman was a physicist, and a bad-ass one at that, but that description alone doesn’t do the man justice. His Wikipedia entry is well worth a read; he’s one of those people that provides reassurance that even at the far end of the bell curve, brilliance and lust for life are not imcompatible.

I’ll entice you to read the entry with two of the highlights. One is a quote from Freeman Dyson, who once wrote that Feynman was “half-genius, half-buffoon”, but later revised this to “all-genius, all-buffoon.” That’s a hell of a line, and you could do a lot worse for a headstone, too.

And he was civic-minded as well:

At Caltech, he used a nude/topless bar as an office away from his usual office, making sketches or writing physics equations on paper placemats. When the county officials tried to close the locale, all visitors except Feynman refused to testify in favor of the bar, fearing that their families would learn about their visits. Only Feynman accepted, and in court, he affirmed that the bar was a public need, stating that craftsmen, technicians, engineers, common workers “and a physics professor” frequented the establishment. The bar was allowed to remain open.

Brien and Mr. Fares, thanks for the head’s up on Richard Feynman.

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2 Responses to Richard Feynman

  1. mrfares says:

    Please enjoy a couple of his half-assed auto-biographies about everything but physics, like lock picking and Carnival in Rio.. “Surely You Must be Joking, Mr. Feynman” and “What Do You Care What Other People Think.”

  2. Brien says:

    Ditto what mrfares said. The guy was a hugely entertaining writer and as unique a personality as I could imagine, the combination of which is why we’re talking about him in the first place šŸ™‚

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