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14: Any recommended reading about Feynman?




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This article is from the Tuva FAQ, by Kerry Yackoboski kerryy@nortel.ca with numerous contributions by Bernard Greenberg, Bernard Dubriel, Alan Shrives, Kevin Williams, Albert Kuvezin, Dr Oliver Corff, Mike Vande Bunt, Ralph Leighton, Masahiko Todoriki, Alan Leighton, Ken Simon, and Sami Jansson.

14: Any recommended reading about Feynman?

Send your suggestions. Here's what I've found.

1 - Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Richard Feynman, as told to Ralph
Leighton W.W. Norton, 1985. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34668-7.

Another canonical work. Sometimes inspirational, sometimes
educational, always amusing. I can't praise this book highly
enough to do it justice.

2 - What Do *You* Care What Other People Think? Richard Feynman, as told to
Ralph Leighton W.W. Norton, 1988. Paperback by Bantam Books, ISBN
0-553-34784-5.

In a way, "What Do You Care" fills in the holes that "Surely
You're Joking" left unexplored. Some stories are light hearted,
while others are somewhat tragic. The second half of the book
details Feynman's work with the Rogers Commission. Highly
recommended.

3 - QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter Richard Feynman Princeton
University Press, 1985.

Quantum electrodynamics explained for the generalist. Will the
reader understand modern physics after reading this book? No, but
not to worry (as explained on page 9). The clearest and most
concise explanation of the subject available.

4 - The Feynman Lectures on Physics Richard Feynman, Robert Leighton,
Matthew Sands Addison-Wesley, 1963.

This legendary three-volume set established the precedent of
"Feynman talks, Leighton writes". Fascinating lectures delivered
with insight usually not presented to undergraduate students.

5 - Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman James Gleick Pantheon
Books, 1992. Paperback by Vintage/Random House, 1993, ISBN 0-679-74704-4.

Gleick is a thorough researcher; the bibliography is formidable.
His writing does not convey the same friendly charm of Feynman's
narrated stories, but the different viewpoint will be of interest
to the completist.

6 - No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman Christopher Sykes
W.W. Norton, 1994.

Great book. Ralph Leighton describes it as a get-together at a
home where Feynman is the main topic of conversation, and Feynman
shows up to tell his version of events.

7 - SIX EASY PIECES: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant
Teacher Richard P. Feynman Addison-Wesley and the Caltech Archives, 1994.

Six Lectures from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, with
accompanying audio on CD or cassette.

8 - The Art of Richard P. Feynman : Images By a Curious Character Compiled
by Michelle Feynman G+B Science Publishers SA, G+B Arts International ISBN
2-88449-047-7

173 pages with 92 full page black and white images and 7 colour
plates by Feynman the artist. Accompanying the images are 57
pages of commentary and reminiscences, some of which has been
printed before (``But Is It Art?'' from ``Surely You're Joking'')
and some of which is new. Particularly interesting are the
contributions from the wonderful Albert Hibbs and from Michelle
Feynman. A great book for the enthusiast.

9 - The Beat of A Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
Jagdish Mehra Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1994 ISBN 0-19-853948-7 (cloth)

According to the book jacket, Feynman in 1980 requested that
Mehra ``do what he had already done for Heisenberg, Pauli, and
Dirac, that is write a definitive account of his life, science
and personality.'' Mehra, who had known Feynman personally for 30
years, readily agreed.

10 - Richard Feynman - A Life In Science John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin
Dutton, published by the Penguin Group, 1997 ISBN 0-525-94124-X (hardcover)

The book attempts to capture both the essence of Feynman's
scientific works and the essence of his `curious character' in
one book, and succeeds to a good degree. The scientific
explanations are well-explained in an interesting manner, and the
anecdotes are always engaging. This may be of the most interests
to the reader who has not already enjoyed other books featuring
stories from Feynman's life, since there is inevitably some
duplication between books, but even the seasoned reader will find
something new here.

11 - Most of the Good Stuff - Memories of Richard Feynman Laurie M. Brown
and John S. Rigden, editors American Institute of Physics, 1993 ISBN
0-88318-870-8 (hardcover)

One of the better books, this is a collection of reminiscences
and anecdotes from colleagues and friends, organized around the
impact he made through his scientific work, through his teaching,
and through his personality. Several of the pieces appeared in
the February 1989 issue of `Physics Today' but are not reprinted
elsewhere.

 

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