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THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY GENIUS OF THE 20TH CENTURY: RICHARD FEYNMAN

~Şüheda Falay



There are several scientists who come to mind when discussing physics. The world's most brilliant, extraordinary, and ground-breaking scientists... We should not belittle other scientists, but some are truly exceptional. Richard Feynman is exactly one of them. Richard Feynman is doubtlessly one of them. It is the most unusual, the most enjoyable, and the most unique. How would you like to learn more about this scientist?



Childhood and Schooling

Richard Feynman, literally Richard Phillips Feynman was born on May 11, 1918, in New York City. His family were Jews who immigrated to America because of the persecution and discrimination of the Russian empire. Just like Albert Einstein, he learned to speak late. His father encouraged him to question everything, and his mother developed Feynman's humor. While his mother was still pregnant with him, his father said, "I want him to be a scientist." His father, who wanted him to be a scientist and was also interested in science, read to him articles from Britannica when he was still illiterate and talked about dinosaurs, the universe, and planets.

Because of this, when he was just 10 years old, he established a laboratory for himself at home. In this laboratory, he conducts physics experiments, disassembles old radios, and experiments with the parts. He also employed his sister as an assistant. She served as his test subject, but they still had a great time.

Feynman attended Far Rockaway High School. He took advanced mathematics classes as a result of his exceptional math performance. He taught himself algebra, analytical geometry, derivatives, and integrals. He also learned trigonometry. He had won at the New York Mathematics Olympics. He then received admission to MIT and completed his undergraduate studies there (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He then pursued his master's and PhD degrees at Princeton University. He worked as a research fellow for one year (1940–1941) following the completion of his PhD at Princeton University before continuing to teach theoretical physics at Cornell University (1945–1950). In 1950–1959, while serving as a Visiting Professor at the California Institute of Technology, he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics.


Manhattan Project


Manhattan Project

America was involved in WWII and invited Feynman, one of the top physicists at the time, to work on a secret project for the government. The Manhattan Project, led by America, was a top-secret effort to build atomic bombs at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. They were worried that Germany would receive the atomic bomb first and start the war with it. All scientists participated in this initiative with the conviction that they would help millions of people by doing so and were convinced of this. Important scientists like Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Niels Bohr were involved in the research.

However, the work they had to complete was also incredibly challenging. Even for these names, creating an atomic bomb in such a short period of time was incredibly challenging. The astronomically high volume of calculations that needed to be performed was one of the major issues. These had to be completed manually in the absence of computers, which slowed the procedure down significantly. Right up until Richard Feynman joined them.

Each technician and employee there was organized by him in such a way that they began to function as processors, like components of a large computer, and the laboratory was transformed into a human-powered computer. Naturally, this ability was noticed by all the renowned scientists. The monster he had actually assisted in creating on the Manhattan Project would bring about an even bigger tragedy in the midst of this one.In the Trinity test, the first time the bomb was put to the test, he had personally witnessed the event and had physically stared into the beast's eyes. He was terrified of what they had created.

Three weeks later, America would detonate the bomb once more. However, there would be no test this time. Richard Feynman was supposed to be on the Enola Gay aircraft carrying the Hiroshima bomb, but authorities changed their minds because they did not want to endanger the scientists. And on August 6, 1945, these bombs would have murdered 80,000 people in Hiroshima and many more in Nagasaki.

After the technical success, everyone was thrilled, but Feynman felt terribly uncomfortable. The bombs' initial intent was flawed, and they actually knew that causing so many deaths was unnecessary and that their efforts had been worthless.


His Studies


Feynman is most famous for his five contributions that were particularly important to the advancement of contemporary physics. His work in correcting the errors of earlier formulations of quantum electrodynamics—the theory that describes interactions between electromagnetic radiation (photons) and charged subatomic particles such as electrons and positrons—is the first and most significant of these (antielectrons). By 1948, Feynman had finished reconstructing a significant portion of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics and had found solutions to the occasionally meaningless findings that the previous quantum electrodynamic theory had given rise to.

Second, he developed straightforward diagrams, now known as Feynman diagrams, which are graphic representations of the challenging mathematical formulas required to explain the behavior of systems of interacting particles. Some of the mathematics required to analyze and forecast these interactions has been significantly simplified by this work.


In the early 1950s, Feynman proposed a quantum-mechanical explanation for Soviet physicist Lev D. Landau's hypothesis of superfluidity—that is, the unusual, frictionless behavior of liquid helium at temperatures close to absolute zero. Together with American physicist Murray Gell-Mann, he developed a theory in 1958 that explained the majority of the occurrences connected to the weak force, the force responsible for radioactive decay. Modern particle physics has reaped significant benefits from their idea, which is based on the asymmetrical "handedness" of particle spin.

Finally, Feynman developed a theory of "partons," or hypothetical hard particles inside the nucleus of the atom, in 1968 while working with experimenters at the Stanford Linear Accelerator on the scattering of high-energy electrons by protons. This theory contributed to the development of the contemporary understanding of quarks.

In 1965, Feynman shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Julian Schwinger, another American, and Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga, a Japanese.


Fun Facts About Feynman


People frequently learn about Feynman's work on the Manhattan project, his contributions to quantum physics, and the Nobel Prize from his approachable books or lectures. Feynman was not well recognized for his interest in art, but it was one of his extracurricular activities that truly reflected his unique personality. Although he is most known as a physicist, he was also an excellent bongo player and a biology enthusiast. He painted and composed poetry. He drew many pictures around the age of 44, knowing of his ability to paint, and his paintings were signed under the nickname "Ofey." Feynman drew the famous Feynman Diagrams on his pickup truck, which he had also bought. Additionally, it served as a decent decoder and a walking calculator. He would open the safes by deciphering their codes for amusement. Everyone who knew Feynman referred to him as a practical joker. He once pulled a practical joke on them in which he led them to believe that spies had stolen nuclear secrets. Feynman also completed a brief project for the film "Anti Clock," in which he played an actor. He portrayed a professor in the film.


His Death


He passed away on February 15, 1988, at the age of 69, following surgery at the UCLA medical center. Feynman had two extremely uncommon cancers. Waldenström's macroglobulinemia and liposarcoma One of the most extraordinary scientists the world has ever known has passed away due to this illness.

Feynman's standing among physicists was considerably higher than the total of his significant contributions to the discipline. His outgoing manner gave the impression that he had a unique mind. He was an expert calculator who could dazzle a group of scientists by cracking a challenging arithmetic puzzle. His unwavering brilliance has become a mainstay of the contemporary science scene. In ordinary physics talks, Feynman stories were joined by Feynman diagrams, Feynman integrals, and Feynman rules.



Books and Lecture Notes


Feynman’s lectures at Caltech evolved into the books Quantum Electrodynamics (1961) and The Theory of Fundamental Processes (1961). In 1961 he began reorganizing and teaching the introductory physics course at Caltech; the result, published as The Feynman Lectures on Physics, 3 vol. (1963–65), became a classic textbook.

''Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!” Adventures Of A Curious Character (1985),The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out(1999),The Character Of Physical Law (1964),“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” Further Adventures Of A Curious Character(1988),Theory of Fundamental Processes.(1961),Quantum Electrodynamics.(1962),Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals.(1965) ,The Character of Physical Law: The 1964 Messenger Lectures. (1967),Statistical Mechanics: A Set of Lectures. (1972).,QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.(1985).,Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures. (1987),Lectures on Gravitation.(1995),Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun (1997),Feynman Lectures on Computation. (2000).



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