by Sukey HowardJune, 1999
The Feynman phenomenon
Richard P. Feynman, one of the most revered scientists of this century, left a lasting impression on almost every aspect of modern physics. He was l'enfant terrible of Los Alamos and the atomic bomb project, a critic of the space shuttle commission, Nobel Prize winner for his work on the development of quantum electrodynamics, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and an exceptional educator. Beginning in 1961, he reorganized and taught the introduction to physics at Cal Tech. This historic two-year undergraduate course was a monumental achievement the world according to Feynman which became the renowned three volumes of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Now, the complete collection of audio recordings of Feynman's lectures (111 in all) are being published. Last year, the first two volumes, Quantum Mechanics and Advanced Quantum Mechanics. appeared. This Spring, Volume 3: From Crystal Structure to Magnetism and Volume 4: Electrical and Magnetic Behavior (6 hrs each) have been released. It's an exciting, extraordinary experience to actually hear Feynman's New York-nuanced voice, his exuberant enthusiasm, and his colorful analogies as he goes through the grand themes of modern physics. Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.