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History Main / RichardFeynman

3rd Dec '14 12:42:01 PM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:362:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/feynmandrums.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:362:"On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."]]-]

->''"If that's the world's smartest man, God help us."''
-->--'''Lucille Feynman''', on ''Omni'' magazine naming her son the world's smartest man.

Drummer, lockpicker, artist, teacher, and raconteur... who also won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 February 15, 1988) was considered one of the greatest scientific minds since [[AlbertEinstein Einstein]]. Even more than his contributions to science (which are numerous and varied), though, he is best remembered today as a ''personality,'' an irreverent, skeptical, iconoclastic embodiment of what a real scientist ought to be.

Born in Far Rockaway, New York in 1918, Feynman showed a passion for science at an early age. Much of his bedroom was taken up with electrical apparatus, and he often made pocket money by fixing radios. He attended MIT, and had nearly finished his postgraduate work at Princeton when he was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project.

As the youngest group leader at Los Alamos, he was often sought out by the older, more eminent scientists as a sounding board, because he was one of the few young physicists who wasn't too awestruck to disagree with them. During this time, he also became skilled at picking locks and breaking into safes, usually by guessing or stealing the combination. He would later brag that he had opened safes containing the greatest treasure of all time: the secrets of the atomic bomb.

Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality -- and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age -- he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.

----
!!Richard Feynman in fiction and pop culture:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Feynman is a major character in ''ComicBook/TheManhattanProjects''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Played by Creator/MatthewBroderick in the 1996 film ''Infinity'', about Feynman's marriage to first wife Arline. It is based mostly on the first half of Feynman's second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* An ArtificialIntelligence based on Feynman serves as a TricksterMentor to one of the characters in ElizabethBear's Jenny Casey trilogy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Played by WilliamHurt in ''The Challenger Disaster'', a MadeForTV movie about the investigation into the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It is based largely on the second half of his second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Feynman fanboy Alan Alda produced and starred in ''QED'', a play about Feynman set in his later years.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Zombie Feynman made an appearance in ''[[http://xkcd.com/397/ xkcd]]'' as a [[RedundantDepartmentOfRedundancy zombie]].
[[/folder]]

to:

[[quoteright:362:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/feynmandrums.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:362:"On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."]]-]

->''"If that's the world's smartest man, God help us."''
-->--'''Lucille Feynman''', on ''Omni'' magazine naming her son the world's smartest man.

Drummer, lockpicker, artist, teacher, and raconteur... who also won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 February 15, 1988) was considered one of the greatest scientific minds since [[AlbertEinstein Einstein]]. Even more than his contributions to science (which are numerous and varied), though, he is best remembered today as a ''personality,'' an irreverent, skeptical, iconoclastic embodiment of what a real scientist ought to be.

Born in Far Rockaway, New York in 1918, Feynman showed a passion for science at an early age. Much of his bedroom was taken up with electrical apparatus, and he often made pocket money by fixing radios. He attended MIT, and had nearly finished his postgraduate work at Princeton when he was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project.

As the youngest group leader at Los Alamos, he was often sought out by the older, more eminent scientists as a sounding board, because he was one of the few young physicists who wasn't too awestruck to disagree with them. During this time, he also became skilled at picking locks and breaking into safes, usually by guessing or stealing the combination. He would later brag that he had opened safes containing the greatest treasure of all time: the secrets of the atomic bomb.

Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality -- and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age -- he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.

----
!!Richard Feynman in fiction and pop culture:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Feynman is a major character in ''ComicBook/TheManhattanProjects''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Played by Creator/MatthewBroderick in the 1996 film ''Infinity'', about Feynman's marriage to first wife Arline. It is based mostly on the first half of Feynman's second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* An ArtificialIntelligence based on Feynman serves as a TricksterMentor to one of the characters in ElizabethBear's Jenny Casey trilogy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Played by WilliamHurt in ''The Challenger Disaster'', a MadeForTV movie about the investigation into the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It is based largely on the second half of his second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Feynman fanboy Alan Alda produced and starred in ''QED'', a play about Feynman set in his later years.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Zombie Feynman made an appearance in ''[[http://xkcd.com/397/ xkcd]]'' as a [[RedundantDepartmentOfRedundancy zombie]].
[[/folder]]
[[redirect:UsefulNotes/RichardFeynman]]
10th Oct '14 8:37:52 PM SirSapphire
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* Played by Creator/MatthewBroderick in the 1996 film ''Infinity'', about Feynman's marriage to first wife Arline.

to:

* Played by Creator/MatthewBroderick in the 1996 film ''Infinity'', about Feynman's marriage to first wife Arline. It is based mostly on the first half of Feynman's second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''



* Played by WilliamHurt in ''The Challenger Disaster'', a MadeForTV movie about the investigation into the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

to:

* Played by WilliamHurt in ''The Challenger Disaster'', a MadeForTV movie about the investigation into the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It is based largely on the second half of his second memoir ''What Do You Care What Other People Think?''
15th Jul '14 7:21:17 PM Exxolon
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Drummer, lockpicker, artist, teacher, and raconteur... who also won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. Richard Feynman was considered one of the greatest scientific minds since [[AlbertEinstein Einstein]]. Even more than his contributions to science (which are numerous and varied), though, he is best remembered today as a ''personality,'' an irreverent, skeptical, iconoclastic embodiment of what a real scientist ought to be.

to:

Drummer, lockpicker, artist, teacher, and raconteur... who also won a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 February 15, 1988) was considered one of the greatest scientific minds since [[AlbertEinstein Einstein]]. Even more than his contributions to science (which are numerous and varied), though, he is best remembered today as a ''personality,'' an irreverent, skeptical, iconoclastic embodiment of what a real scientist ought to be.
14th Jun '14 9:12:56 AM Whitecroc
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Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality - and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age - he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.

to:

Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality - -- and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age - -- he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.



!!This scientist's life provides examples of:

* TheCasanova: Who says all scientists are nerds?
* [[UnflinchingWalk Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions]]: Averted when Feynman calculated that an ordinary automotive windshield would be able to block most of the harmful UV radiation from the Trinity atomic bomb test as opposed to the [[SunglassesAtNight heavily tinted welding goggles]] provided to everyone else who were also told to face away from the blast. Feynman believed he was the only human being to witness the detonation live.
* CoolOldGuy: Eventually became this, particularly his role in the ''Challenger'' investigation.
* EinsteinHair: A mild case. During the ''Challenger'' investigation, he had to be reminded to comb it by another commissioner.
* FamousLastWords: "I'd hate to die twice. It's so ''boring''."
* HardOnSoftScience: Very much. That is, he was interested in such areas and was very annoyed to discover that beyond the neurophysiology starts the endless swamp of speculations he as a physicist just could not take seriously. And then managed to convey his opinion on the matter to surprising number of people.
* LaymansTerms: He was a fan of this, famously saying that if one can't explain a topic to a freshman, then one doesn't truly understand that topic. He was later disturbed when he found that he ''couldn't'' explain the basis for fermions and bosons in layman's terms.
* MortonsFork: He [[DraftDodging escaped the draft]] by flunking the psychological evaluation, and nicely sent-up ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' when he found out he failed, in a letter to the army board.
** It should be noted that he didn't intentionally flunk, he simply answered honestly. For instance, when the psychologist asked if he thought people stared at him, he was about to answer no, until the psychologist added, "For instance, are any of (the people in the waiting room) looking at you right now?" Since it was a small room with nothing else to look at, Feynman did some quick mental division and said, "Yeah, probably two of them." When the psychologist told Feynman to turn around and check, it turned out that Feynman was exactly right - but in pointing out those two people, of course this attracted everybody ''else's'' attention, as they were wondering why he was pointing at them. Since the psychologist didn't even bother to look up from his notebook to notice this, he wrote that Feynman had "narcissistic tendencies with paranoia".
* MouthfulOfPi: He wanted to memorize Pi up to the 762nd digit, at which point there is a string of six nines in a row, so that he could say "...nine nine nine nine nine nine, and so on" and thus mislead people into thinking Pi was a rational number. This misconception is amplified by the fact that up to that point, the longest string of repeating digits is only 3 digits long. This sequence has been named the Feynman Point in his honor.
* NerdsAreSexy: Possible TropeCodifier.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Or perhaps "Obfuscating Innocence." His memoirs ''live'' this trope.
* RedOniBlueOni: Feynman was the Red to Julian Schwinger's Blue.
* ThePrankster: Well known for his tendency to pull off all sorts of pranks that were often intended to make some larger point. Working on the Manhattan Project did nothing to curb his enthusiasm and he took particular glee in poking holes in some of the more [[LawfulStupid pointless security policies]].
* TheRival: Many of his colleagues found him abrasive and unprofessional, but his two greatest rivals were Julian Schwinger (with whom he, along with Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, shared the above-noted Nobel,) and Murray Gell-Mann.
* SarcasticConfession: He perpetrated a [[WackyFratboyHijinx prank in his fraternity]], and to find out who did it, the fraternity president asked each member in turn to swear his innocence. When it was Feynman's turn to swear (after a bunch of other members swore their innocence), he admitted his guilt, but the president answered, "Cut it out, Feynman, this is serious!", and moved on to the next person. When he confessed for real much later, nobody remembered that he had already admitted it, and they accused him of lying during the swearing.
* SuckySchool: He hunted down a lot of the dumb gobbledygook displacing any real science from the education once it was brought to his attention. Wrote ''Lucky Numbers'', ''O Americano, Outra Vez!'', ''Judging Books by Their Covers''.
--> The main purpose of my talk is to demonstrate to you that ''no'' science is being taught in Brazil!
* ThemeTune: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kgT7q8iuac This]] was written about him.
* {{Thememobile}}: According to Dr. Michael Shermer he once met someone who in the 1980s asked the guy next to him at a stop light why he had Feynman diagrams painted on his van. Answer? "Because I'm Feynman!" [[http://www.fotuva.org/online/frameload.htm?/online/van.htm The van is still around today]].
* UnreliableNarrator: His memoirs have a bit of this due to his obfuscating innocence.

----
26th May '14 3:45:38 AM ninjacrat
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http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/feynmandrums.jpg
[-[[caption-width:362:"On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."]]-]

to:

http://static.[[quoteright:362:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/feynmandrums.jpg
[-[[caption-width:362:"On
jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:362:"On
the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."]]-]
26th May '14 3:45:01 AM ninjacrat
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* AbsentMindedProfessor: Mostly averted, although he did have trouble telling left from right.
** It's rather funny to think that he opposed for years the theory of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parity_conservation#Parity_violation parity violation in weak interactions]] - which, simplifying ''very'' much, states that you can tell left from right at a subatomic level.
10th Apr '14 5:20:55 AM tullia
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Added DiffLines:

[[folder:Film]]
* Played by Creator/MatthewBroderick in the 1996 film ''Infinity'', about Feynman's marriage to first wife Arline.
[[/folder]]


Added DiffLines:

[[folder:Theatre]]
* Feynman fanboy Alan Alda produced and starred in ''QED'', a play about Feynman set in his later years.
[[/folder]]
10th Apr '14 5:20:52 AM tullia
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7th Jan '14 3:17:30 PM Tesseract
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Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality - and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers pretty much all read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age - he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.

to:

Given both his importance in history and his larger than life personality - and the fact that a lot of the current generation of science fiction writers pretty much all read ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'' at an impressionable age - he's becoming increasingly popular as a HistoricalDomainCharacter.
7th Jan '14 10:49:53 AM Tesseract
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* Zombie Feynman made an appearance in ''{{xkcd}}'' as a [[RedundantDepartmentOfRedundancy zombie]].

to:

* Zombie Feynman made an appearance in ''{{xkcd}}'' ''[[http://xkcd.com/397/ xkcd]]'' as a [[RedundantDepartmentOfRedundancy zombie]].
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