Richard Feynman


Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.


  • Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure — the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it — the humility of the intellect. The other great heritage is Christian ethics — the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual — the humility of the spirit. These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent. But logic is not all; one needs one’s heart to follow an idea… How can we draw inspiration to support these two pillars of western civilization so that they may stand together in full vigor, mutually unafraid? Is this not the central problem of our time? Remarks (2 May 1956)
  • “Tell your son to stop trying to fill your head with science — for to fill your heart with love is enough.” Letter to the mother of Marcus Chown, who had been fascinated with the profile of him on the BBC show Horizon in 1981, written after Chown asked him to write her a birthday note, thinking it would help him in his attempts at trying to explain scientific things to her. Published in No Ordinary Genius : The Illustrated Richard Feynman (1996), by Christopher Simon Sykes, p. 161.
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