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Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman Paperback – November 2, 1993
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If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynman would be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment as a person of genius. Deservedly nominated for a National Book Award, underservedly passed over by the committee in the face of tough competition, and very deservedly a book that you must read.
From Publishers Weekly
It would be hard to tell personal stories about the late Nobelist Feynman (1918-1988) better than the subject himself did in What Do You Care What Other People Think? To his credit, Gleick does not try. Rather, he depicts Feynman's "curious character" in its real context: the science he helped develop during physics' most revolutionary era. Fans of Feynman's own bestseller, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! , " won't be disappointed by his colleagues' recollections of his reckless obsession with doing science (a grad-school dorm neighbor once opened Feynman's door to find him rolling on the floor as he worked on a problem); but the anecdotes punctuate an expanded account of Feynman the visceral working scientist, not Feynman the iconoclast. This biography wants to measure both the particle and the wave of 20th-century genius--Feynman's, Julian Schwinger's, Murray Gell-Mann's, and others'--in the quantum era. Gleick seems to have enjoyed the cooperation of Feynman's family plus that of a good many of his colleagues from the Manhattan Project and the Challenger inquiry (in which Feynman played a scene-stealing role), and he steadily levies just enough of the burden of Feynman's genius on the reader so that the physicist remains, in the end, a person and not an icon of science. A genius could not hope for better. Gleick is the author of Chaos: The Making of A New Science.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I give this biography a high score because it is well written and extremely educational.
Gleick sometimes gets so far into the weeds regarding scientific ideas that his explanations of Feynman's work become almost a little too involved. But every time that thought strikes, I think "Would you rather know less?" And the answer is always "No!" This emphasis on Feynman's work is welcome, actually, because most of my reading has been about his fascinating life and adventures. Gleick's explication of Richard Feynman's main ideas, and his sketches of the scientists with whom Feynman worked or competed, places Feynman in a broader context. And because Feynman and his colleagues conceived many of the ideas informing modern physics, it has also helped illuminate my current science reading.
Feynman's penchant for self-promotion also gets entertaining exposure. This is a fascinating book about an irreverent, uniquely American genius. Highly recommended!
The 2nd half of the boom is about post war physics and the quantum revolution and Feynman's place in the picture. I still have a vague understanding of Quantum Physics but now it is better understanding the flow of the development of scientific thought and discovery on the subject, and also the personalities and contributors involved. A great man and book.
This man was truly an amazing man and continued to make a difference up until the time of his death. He was truly a genius. For folks who like science and the people who have made inroads in our knowledge of it, this is an excellent choice.