Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Adventures of a Curious Character

Richard P. Feynman

Publisher: Vintage, 1985

ISBN: 978-0-099-17331-1

Keywords: Biography

Last modified: March 24, 2024, 1:55 a.m.

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, Richard Feynman was one of the greatest theoretical physicists, but he was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safe-cracker, practical joker and storyteller, Feynman's life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism. Over a period of years, Feynman's conversations with his friend Ralph Leighton were first taped and then set down as they appear here, little changed from their spoken form, giving a wise, funny, passionate and totally honest self-portrait of one of the greatest men of our age.

  • Part One: From Far Rockaway to MIT
    • He Fixes Radions by Thinking!
    • String Beans
    • Who Stole the Door?
    • Latin or Italian?
    • Always Trying to Escape
    • The Chief Research Chemist of the Metaplast Corporation
  • Part Two: The Princeton Years
    • 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!'
    • Meeeeeeeeee!
    • A Map of the Cat?
    • Monster Minds
    • Mixing Paints
    • A Different Box of Tools
    • Mindreaders
    • The Amateur Scientist
  • Part Three: Feynman, the Bomb, and the Military
    • Fizzled Fuses
    • Testing Bloodhounds
    • Los Alamos from Below
    • Safecracker Meets Safecracker
    • Uncle Sam Doesn't Need You!
  • Part Four: From Cornell to Caltech, with a Touch of Brazil
    • The Dignified Professor
    • Any Questions
    • I Want My Dollar!
    • You Just Ask Them?
    • Lucky Numbers
    • O Americano, Outra Vez!
    • Man of a Thousand Tongues
    • Certainly, Mr. Big!
    • An Offer You Must Refuse
  • Part Five: The World of One Physicist
    • Would You Solve the Dirac Equation?
    • The 7 Percent Solution
    • Thirteen Times
    • It Sounds Greek to Me!
    • But Is It Art?
    • Is Electricity Fire?
    • Judging Books by Their Covers
    • Alfred Nobel's Other Mistake
    • Bringing Culture to the Physicists
    • Found Out in Paris
    • Altered States
    • Cargo Cult Science


Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: March 24, 2024, 2:02 a.m.

Well, the guy is admittedly one of the mega-stars of the physicist world, but while reading this book, I only see a self-indulgent man, I definitely wouldn't be interested to have a conversation with, as I would probably punch him out in short order.

If you're into this self-indulgent drivel or are star-struck, go ahead and read it, just don't try to emulate it!


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