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Book Review: The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out - varnamvarnam
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Book Review: The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out

Pleasure of Finding Things Out

When America started project on the nuclear bomb with the aim of making it before the Germans, Richard Feynman was one of the young scientists involved. He moved to Los Alamos in New Mexico where the new lab was just coming up. The administrators had decided that two scientists would share an apartment. Feynman did not want to share his apartment. So he spread out woman’s clothes on the other bed daily and went to work. Everyday evening the cleaning lady would fold it neatly and keep it back. The Army which got the report from the cleaning lady was wondering who this mysterious woman was who stayed with Richard Feynman and since they could not find, they asked the cleaning lady to act as if nothing happened.

Another prank he was famous for was cracking safes. He used to open the safes of people in Los Alamos by knowing what project the safe owner was working on, and what physical constant he would use as the safe number. But this is not just about his pranks. There are very serious lectures, and many of them on miniaturization of the computer. These lectures were given in the 50s, much before everyone was talking about nanotechnology. There is also his famous minority report on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster.

bq. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a magnificent treasury of the best short works of Richard Feynman, from interviews and speeches to lectures and printed articles. A sweeping, wide-ranging collection, it presents an intimate and fascinating view of a life in science-a life like no other. From Feynman’s ruminations on science in our culture to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this book will fascinate anyone interested in the world of ideas. Newcomers to Feynman will be moved by his wit and his deep understanding of the natural world and of the human experience; longtime admirers will discover many treasures available nowhere else.

But the article I liked was where Feynman explains how his father, a uniform salesman, influenced him to be a scientist. His father taught him to identify patterns and always to keep an inquisitive mind. Some of the lectures in the book are very deep, especially the ones on miniaturization. But rest are all very interesting and some are extremely funny. This is my first book by Feynman and I enjoyed it a lot.


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