Tuesday, 7 April 1998

Richard P. Feynman: Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman - Adventures of a Curious Character (1985)

Edition: Vintage, 1992
Review number: 22
As the subtitle suggests, this is the story of an unusual man, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who worked on the atomic bomb who was also an amateur artist who had a successful one man show - among many other talents. It is an interesting read, even to those who (like me) don't normally enjoy (auto)biographies.

The book presents an honest picture of Richard Feynman, based mainly on taped conversations with a friend. This means that his personality comes through strongly, showing both the admirable traits and the less than admirable traits. I didn't like Richard Feynman practical joker, but found Richard Feynman indefatigable science educator more to my taste. (I particularly enjoyed the story of his evaluations of school physics textbooks for the state of California.)

As well as thinking that people in general could benefit by better understanding of science (and better science education), I also think that many scientists would benefit from being able to write as well as Feynman, and the public would probably have a better understanding of science if they did!

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