Physicist Richard Feynman ’39 was a Nobel laureate and a witty lecturer, which is saying a lot for a guy whose topics ranged from the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium to particle physics. Undeniably brilliant, he was credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. Though he died in 1988, his words have a new life.
Some of his lively lectures and chunks of his biography are available online in Scribd, which describes itself as the “largest social publishing company in the world—the website where more than 60 million people each month discover and share original writings and documents.” After a free sign in, you can join them.
“The Meaning of It All,” three lectures given in 1963, comment on the impact of science outside of science. He teases apart issues that arise from science defined in three ways: as a method for finding things out, the resulting body of knowledge, and what is done with that knowledge.
In “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” Feynman’s 1959 talk to the American Physical Society, he introduces the concept of nanotechnology.
“What do you care what other people will think?” is an as told-to-chronicle of Feynman’s work on the presidential commission investigation into the 1986 Challenger disaster. This engaging personal narrative digs into the technical and management problems that triggered the tragedy.