The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

Book - 1992
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Profiles the life and achievements of iconoclastic physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, describing his unique vision of science and his revolutionary legacy

Book News
Gleick ( Chaos ) gives us a major biography of one of science's most endearing figures (except to snobs & frauds). Feynman's brilliance, independence, humanity are readably displayed. His contributions to physics are interpreted for the lay reader. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
A genius, a great mathematician once said, performs magic, does things that nobody else could do. To his scientific colleagues, Richard Feynman was a magician of the highest caliber. Architect of quantum theories, enfant terrible of the atomic bomb project, caustic critic of the space shuttle commission, Nobel Prize winner for work that gave physicists a new way of describing and calculating the interactions of subatomic particles, Richard Feynman left his mark on virtually every area of modern physics.
Originality was his obsession. Never content with what he knew or with what others knew, Feynman ceaselessly questioned scientific truths. But there was also another side to him, one which made him a legendary figure among scientists. His curiosity moved well beyond things scientific: he taught himself how to play drums, to give massages, to write Chinese, to crack safes.
In Genius, James Gleick, author of the acclaimed best-seller Chaos, shows us a Feynman few have seen. He penetrates beyond the gleeful showman depicted in Feynman's own memoirs and reveals a darker Feynman: his ambition, his periods of despair and uncertainty, his intense emotional nature.
From his childhood on the beaches and backlots of Far Rockaway and his first tinkering with radios and differential equations to the machine shops at MIT and the early theoretical work at Princeton - work that foreshadowed his famous notion of antiparticles traveling backward in time - to the tragic death of his wife while he was working at Los Alamos, Genius shows how one scientist's vision was formed. As that vision crystallized in work that reinvented quantum mechanics, we see Feynman's impact on the elite particle-physics community, and how Feynman grew to be at odds with the very community that idolized him. Finally, Gleick explores the nature of genius, our obsession with it and why the very idea may belong to another time.
Genius records the life of a scientist who has forever changed science - and changed what it means to know something in this uncertain century.

& Taylor

The best-selling author of Chaos profiles the life and achievements of iconoclastic physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, describing his unique vision of science and his revolutionary legacy. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 1992
ISBN: 9780679408369
Branch Call Number: 530 FEYMN GLEIC
Characteristics: x, 532 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 18, 2016

An interesting read, but not well balanced. There is a great deal of emphasis on Feynman's early years as a student at MIT and Princeton, but a lack of detail from about 1962 to 1986. Perhaps this is a reflection of his career and when his major contributions to science took place. The chapters on the Manhattan Project were very engaging and I am now happily slogging my way through "The Feynman Lectures on Physics" (which I was not previously aware of, despite having previously read Feynman's own "auto-biography"). Overall, I would agree with the comments from a reviewer on Goodreads: "it was interesting, but most of the same information is available in more-engaging form elsewhere."

May 01, 2015

An excellent biography of a singular person. This biography includes (about 50%) the scientific questions that Feynman pursued in his career. This biography is very well written and entertaining. Some previous knowledge of physics will definitely help. Worth reading if you are interested.

Jun 21, 2013

James Gleick's prose, vocabulary and style is on par with great fiction writers. He uses his Harvard University training in English to show scientific topics and scientists, often shunned as boring, as extremely interesting. It is no wonder that his peers voted him as a Pulitzer Prize Finalist three times. He has won two National Book Awards. For those who want to learn about Feynman's brilliance, personality, life and science this is a great read. Gleick, apart from being a joy to read, just for his creative style, does not shy away from showing and explaining the quantum physics. At times the reader needs to put on some intellectual running shoes if they want to try to understand the subject, which is part of the genius of who Richard Feynman was. Kudos to Gleick as a great popularizer of science and its heroes.

Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 1993 Pulitzer prize for biography.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GL

To Top