The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

Jagdish Mehra Mehra / Jul 19, 2019

The Beat of a Different Drum The Life and Science of Richard Feynman Few would argue that Richard Feynman was one of the greatest American born theoretical physicists of the twentieth century and fewer still would dispute that he was the most iconoclastic In the words

  • Title: The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
  • Author: Jagdish Mehra Mehra
  • ISBN: 9780198518877
  • Page: 450
  • Format: Paperback
  • Few would argue that Richard Feynman was one of the greatest American born theoretical physicists of the twentieth century, and fewer still would dispute that he was the most iconoclastic In the words of the eminent mathematician Mark Kac, geniuses are of two kinds the ordinary, and the magicians Feynman was a magician of the highest caliber No one could guess how hisFew would argue that Richard Feynman was one of the greatest American born theoretical physicists of the twentieth century, and fewer still would dispute that he was the most iconoclastic In the words of the eminent mathematician Mark Kac, geniuses are of two kinds the ordinary, and the magicians Feynman was a magician of the highest caliber No one could guess how his mind worked, how he could make transcendental leaps of the imagination so fearlessly A true original, Feynman was both an inspired, Nobel prize winning pioneer, and a born showman He never lost sight of his vision of science as a long history of learning how not to fool ourselves The Beat of a Different Drum is a superb account of Feynman s life and work, encompassing a singular career that spanned from the detonation of the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos to the frontiers of our understanding of the universe The first biography to offer deep insight into both Feynman s scientific achievements and his personal life, it is written by Jagdish Mehra An accomplished physicist and historian of science in his own right, Mehra knew Feynman for thirty years, and their friendship deeply informs all aspects of the book Feynman invited Mehra to spend three weeks with him shortly before his death in 1988, and after Feynman died, following a ten year battle against cancer, Mehra interviewed almost eighty of his friends and colleagues They share their recollections of Feynman from his precocious childhood in Queens, New York, to his final days, painting an unforgettable portrait of a scientist who insisted throughout his life on taking the whole of nature as the arena of his science and his imagination Mehra writes clearly and comprehensively about the theoretical and technical aspects of Feynman s achievements his crucial role in the development of the atomic bomb his association with Hans Bethe at Cornell, where he worked out his famous path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, and went on to develop the Feynman diagrams, so ubiquitous in quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, and statistical mechanics and the full range and depth of his work from 1950 until shortly before his death at the California Institute of Technology Here, too, are intimate glimpses into the development of Feynman s inner life, including his devoted relationship with his extraordinary father, a self taught uniform salesman, and his first marriage, to his boyhood sweetheart, Arline, whom he married knowing that she had only a short time to live Feynman was an eyewitness to some of this century s key moments of scientific discovery, and Mehra devotes an entire chapter to Feynman s philosophical reflections on the implications of these discoveries Flamboyant and impatient, but dedicated to his vision of a better world through cooperation and the fearless pursuit of scientific truth, Feynman emerges here as a genius whom fellow Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger remembered as an honest man the outstanding intuitionist of our age and a prime example of what may lie in store for anyone who dares to follow the beat of a different drum.

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    About "Jagdish Mehra Mehra"

      • Jagdish Mehra Mehra

        Indian American physicist and historian of science born in Meerut, India on April 8, 1937 He came to the United States in 1957, and was educated at Neuch tel, Switzerland, where he received his Ph.D in 1963 He subsequently was appointed assistant professor of physics at Purdue University 1964 65 , assistant professor of physics at University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth 1965 67 , program director of the Science Research Association at IBM Chicago 1967 69 , special research associate at the University of Texas, Austin 1969 73 , and professor at the Solvay Institute Brussels 1973 88.Mehra served as UNESCO Sir Julian Huxley Distinguished Professor of History of Science in Paris, and Trieste, Italy 1989 93 , and was the Citadel Distinguished Professor of Physics in Charleston, South Carolina 1993 96 He has held distinguished visiting appointments in Houston, Texas, and Geneva, Switzerland, and as Regent s Professor in the University of California at Irvine He now lives in Houston, Texas where he has been professor of science and humanities at the University of Houston since 1996.Jagdish Mehra was trained as a theoretical physicist in the schools of Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli He came into close personal contact with all the creators of quantum mechanics, and has used these interactions to great advantage in The Historical Development of Quantum Theory a six volume work co authored with Helmut Rechenberg Mehra has published extensively on the historical and conceptual development of modern physics.Taken from scienceworld.wolfram biogr


    950 Comments

    1. Bar none one of the best biographies of a physicist I've read. There was no skimping on the physics, detailing his contributions as well as the minutiae of his life.


    2. Phenomenal. Though there is much difficult, technical exposition on Feynman's work on quantum electrodynamics, superfluidity, and other subjects. Still there is much even a layperson can enjoy.


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