Richard Phillips Feynman, was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams.
During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.
He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II and became known to a wide public in the 1980s as a member of the Rogers Commission, the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept of nanotechnology.
“This was Richard Feynman nearing the crest of his powers. At twenty-three … there was no physicist on earth who could match his exuberant command over the native materials of theoretical science. It was not just a facility at mathematics (though it had become clear … that the mathematical machinery emerging from the Wheeler–Feynman collaboration was beyond Wheeler’s own ability). Feynman seemed to possess a frightening ease with the substance behind the equations, like Albert Einstein at the same age, like the Soviet physicist Lev Landau—but few others.”
— James Gleick, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
Feynman has been called the “Great Explainer”. He gained a reputation for taking great care when giving explanations to his students and for making it a moral duty to make the topic accessible. His guiding principle was that, if a topic could not be explained in a freshman lecture, it was not yet fully understood. Feynman gained great pleasure from coming up with such a “freshman-level” explanation, for example, of the connection between spin and statistics. What he said was that groups of particles with spin ½ “repel”, whereas groups with integer spin “clump”. This was a brilliantly simplified way of demonstrating how Fermi–Dirac statistics and Bose–Einstein statistics evolved as a consequence of studying how fermions and bosons behave under a rotation of 360°. This was also a question he pondered in his more advanced lectures, and to which he demonstrated the solution in the 1986 Dirac memorial lecture. In the same lecture, he further explained that antiparticles must exist, for if particles had only positive energies, they would not be restricted to a so-called “light cone“.
He opposed rote learning or unthinking memorization and other teaching methods that emphasized form over function. Clear thinking and clear presentation were fundamental prerequisites for his attention.
In this series, Feynman looks at the mysterious forces that make ordinary things happen and, in doing so, answers questions about why rubber bands are stretchy, why tennis balls can’t bounce for ever and what you’re really seeing when you look in the mirror.
You can see him laughing whole-heartedly talking about the concepts. He vividly imagines the things and take a great pleasure out of it. That’s the key. If we want to be great at something, it should be an hobby rather than a task. We should take the time to create a heaven in our minds. And get blissful and joyous by the influence of fascinating ideas.