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Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character Hardcover


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Frequently Bought Together

Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character + Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) + The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman (Helix Books)
Price for all three: $43.57

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton; Har/Com edition (November 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061321
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Not many Nobel laureates in physics amuse themselves by playing the bongo drums and cracking safes. But the capricious personality of Richard Feynman contained more than a few surprises. And it is the sheer unpredictability of this high-spirited genius--partial to the company of Las Vegas showgirls when not in the Caltech lecture hall--that has attracted so many readers to his disarmingly candid memoirs, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? Now chronologically collated into one omnibus volume (packaged with a CD of one of Feynman's signature lectures), these memoirs display perhaps the most flamboyant personality in modern science. So colorful are some of the episodes here gathered that readers might forget (as Freeman Dyson remarks in his perceptive foreword) the careful and painstaking theorist who probed the atom with rare insight. Still, this collection does include Feynman's account of how--in quite casual circumstances--he spontaneously devised scientific experiments to determine the characteristics of ants' feet and humans' noses. Though the essays are available elsewhere, the autobiographical structure adds interest for the author's many fans. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Richard P. Feynman was born in 1918 and grew up in Far Rockaway, New York. At the age of seventeen he entered MIT and in 1939 went to Princeton, then to Los Alamos, where he joined in the effort to build the atomic bomb. Following World War II he joined the physics faculty at Cornell, then went on to Caltech in 1951, where he taught until his death in 1988. He shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965, and served with distinction on the Shuttle Commission in 1986. A commemorative stamp in his name was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2005.

Ralph Leighton, Richard Feynman's great friend and collaborator, now lives in northern California.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If Feynman were only a brilliant physicist he would have been an amazing man.
H. Gold
The stories in the book are the same as those in the well known Surely you're joking and What do you care what other people think.
Frieswijk
If you do not own the above mentioned volumes, this is a nice hard cover book to keep in your personal library.
greyamal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Curious about Science on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have purchased almost all Feynman books so far.

Be forewarned. This book is a compilation of "Surely your joking..." and "What do you care what..." plus a bonus CD audio recording of a talk which was "in-te-res-ting" ( a Feynmanism).

If I had realized this, I would only have bought this book instead of all three.

For a more global and thorough exposition of his life, consider Gleick's '93 book "Genius".

For those wondering if they should find anything out about Feynman... There was a student that was asked if he wanted to come along to hear Feynman speak. "No. I'm going to study instead." Years later he was still kicking himself for passing up the opportunity. Feynman has this effect. Once you find out about him, you'll probably want to have done so earlier.

What's in store for you is a look back from the 20's to the 80's through the eyes of a physicist that married his sweet heart against the advice of family and lost her to tuberculosis a short time before a cure, rubbed elbows with the greats Einstein, Bohr, Dyson, Schwinger, Fermi etc, patrioticly worked on anti-aircraft defenses, helped build the atomic bomb, was bold enough to look at it directly behind a windshield that blocked the harmful ultra violet, cracked safes, deciphered Mayan hieroglyphs, learned to speak and taught in Portuguese, ironed out the problems in Quantum Electrodynamics, went around Caltech acting weird from a concussion for three weeks before any one noticed, "Well, next time say something!", he scolded. The '65 Nobel prize: "You'll raise more of a fuss if you refuse it.", learned to draw, play drums, inspired nanotechnologists, quantum computing research and after surviving 10 years of cancer helped trackdown the problem with the Space Shuttle Columbia and lastly said: "I'd hate to die twice. It's boring!"
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Frieswijk on November 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The stories in the book are the same as those in the well known Surely you're joking and What do you care what other people think. I had read those (plus James Gleick's 'Genius'), but still liked this book very much because of the accompanying CD. Play the CD first, then read the stories again - that really made the stories come to live for me!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Georges Melki on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This autobiography of the great physicist Richard Feynman should appeal to all those readers who want to know about his private life and scientific activities in detail.However, most of the material is taken from two previous books, "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman" and "What do you care what other people think?". Some of the "adventures" were already related by James Gleick in his biography of Feynman, "Genius".So people who own these books can do without this one, unless they are real Feynman fans(like me!).
Another feature of this book is the CD which comes with it, and which contains a recording of a lecture by Feynman, covering most of the material of the Chapter entitled "Los Alamos from Below". I found this CD both entertaining and very useful, as it gives the listener a taste of what a lecture by Feynman sounded like. In fact, all the book, in its simplicity, sounds more like a series of lectures;and Feynman, in his distaste for "humanities", seems to enjoy "talking" to the public, with not a hint of literary artifice in his style!Of course, this could be seen as unbecoming such a brilliant mind, but Feynman keeps reminding the reader that he has no respect for anything but science(at one place, he talks about finding the professors of the philosophy department at Columbia particularly "inane").Some will also find his philandering a little exaggerated: but he is honest enough to admit that there is nothing he loves more than a "beautiful woman", and who could blame him?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. frazier on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful read....a chance to listen to a great scientist with a wonderful quirky mind. It is all interesting, some of it very touching, but the part on the investigation of the Challenger explosion is a classic study in bureaucratic malingering.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H. Gold on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If Feynman were only a brilliant physicist he would have been an amazing man. But he was so much more. Reading this book I found that I really got to know what he was about. Every essay was interesting and entertaining. The man knew how to live life and if I manage to have half the experiences he did I well have had a great life. It seems like he was constantly exploring what the world had to offer. It is truly a shame he is no longer with us because I would have loved to hear him live. If you only care about physics this book is not for you but if you want to know about life in general this book is for you. He is truly and inspring and motivational figure. I intend to purchase more books and cds on Feynman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Simko on August 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In life, it seems that there are two types of geniuses - great minds and great teachers. Many of each type have come along throughout modern history, minds like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Niels Bohr, and teachers such as Nadia Boulanger, Socrates and Annie Sullivan. Very infrequently, genetics will stumble upon a phenomenal combination that provides both within once person - this was Richard Feynman.

Despite his incredible mind, he also had a knack for explanation and story-telling - a talent that no doubt arose from his love of the unorthodox. In this book, a collection of all of Feynman's greatest tales are collected for any readers, young or old, to divulge and enjoy. There are very few books in which 'Quantum Electrodynamics' and 'strip clubs' can make contextual sense in the same sentence, but Feynman flawlessly manages to make it work.

His tales are much more than mere fun stories of a silly old scientist, as they both entertaining and enlightening. One of my favorite sections from the book details a discussion that Feynman had with a friend of his, an artist. His friend attempted to tell Feynman that his scientific understanding of the flower only diminished its beauty, dragging it down to the boring depths of esoteric textbook terms and definitions. However, Feynman rejected his friend's claim, stating that he could "see much more about the flower than [the artist] sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes...All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds.
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