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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 The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, a collection of previously unpublished or difficult-to-find short works by maverick physicist Richard Feynman, takes its title from his own answer.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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A Nobel-winning physicist, inveterate prankster and gifted teacher, Feynman (1918-1988) charmed plenty of contemporary and future scientists with accounts of his misadventures in the bestselling Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and explained the fundamentals of physics in (among other books) Six Easy Pieces. Editor Jeffrey Robbins's assemblage of 13 essays, interviews and addresses (only one of them new to print) will satisfy admirers of those books and other fans of the brilliant and colorful scientist. Best known among the selections here is certainly Feynman's "Minority Report to the Challenger Inquiry," in which the physicist explained to an anxious nation why the Space Shuttle exploded. The title piece transcribes a wide-ranging, often-autobiographical interview Feynman gave in 1981; an earlier talk with Omni magazine has the author explaining his prize-winning work on quantum electrodynamics, then fixing the interviewer's tape recorder. Other pieces address the field of nanotechnology, "The Relation of Science and Religion" and Feynman's experience at Los Alamos, where he helped create the A-bomb (and, in his spare time, cracked safes). Much of the work here was originally meant for oral delivery, as speeches or lectures: Feynman's talky informality can seduce, but some of the pieces read more like unedited tape transcripts than like science writing. Most often, however, Feynman remains fun and informative. Here are yet more comments, anecdotes and overviews from a charismatic rulebreaker with his own, sometimes compelling, views about what science is and how it can be done. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I always was facinated by this physicist. I read many times is classics on physics. But never have quite the time to read thos little book. Now, It is a pleasure.Published 20 months ago by Mario Lemelin
I found this book to be complicating as it jumped from subject to subject. It wasnt really that informative. Read morePublished on June 25 2003 by baby
This book is a hodge-podge of personal and professional reminiscenses and interviews. Feynmann tells stories about building the A-bomb, his Dad, teaching his children, curiosity,... Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2002 by David Marshall
Richard Feynman achieved something like cult status, almost on a par with Stephen Hawking and for some time I resisted the temptation to read him. Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2002 by Rafe Champion
While I greatly enjoyed 'Surely You're Joking Dr. Feyman..." this book leaves me unentertained. Read morePublished on July 25 2002 by towSaint
So you've read all the usual books on Feynman and by Feynman.... but where this one scores over the others is in portraying a picture of Feynman the readers are mostly unaware... Read morePublished on March 25 2002 by Ashwin
If you want to immerse yourself in the human side of the great Richard Feynman without having to struggle with a book full of equations, then this book is for you. Read morePublished on March 22 2002 by Luis F Lupian
This collection of "short works" a decent collection, and will surely appeal to those who enjoyed "Genius" and "Surely You Must Be Joking... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2002 by kresnels