Sunday, 31 January 2016

Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! - Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and a completely colourful individual. Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of anecdotes, stories and undoubtedly tall tales that was published in 1985, three years before his death. They paint him somewhere between adventurous, eccentric and downright dodgy. Even though it's been many years since I studied physics (or science in general) and I found myself caught up in trying (and failing) to follow his logic, it didn't distract from Feynman's knack for storytelling.

The way the anecdotes are collated makes me wonder when Feynman actually found the time to do the physics he was renown for. From his obsession with safe cracking, to learning how to draw then play the bongos, Feynman's stories are recorded in a way that I can imagine him reminiscing in front of an audience. It's hard to get a sense of time lines with some, although it doesn't distract from the book's overall flow. Funny, nostalgic and embellished in all the right places, some rambled while others were sharp lessons in life. All gave a glimpse of a scientist's view of the world and an insight into how they see everyday life.

I'm not sure where the imagination ends and the truth begins but Feynman's memoirs certainly make for an entertaining read.

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