"If that's the world's smartest man, God help us."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 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 Historical-Domain Character.
—Lucille Feynman, on Omni magazine naming her son the world's smartest man.
Richard Feynman in fiction and pop culture:
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