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Richard Feynman

February 17, 1988
Our community and the world are much poorer today for the loss of Richard Feynman, who until his death of cancer Monday night may have been the smartest person on Earth. He was a most extraordinary man, a pure iconoclast who made enormous contributions to theoretical physics but who had unbridled curiosity about everything around him, which he pursued and mastered with skill and humor. To be with him was to get a glimpse of worlds that the rest of us could never enter.
June 9, 1989 | WILLIAM SWEET, William Sweet is writer based in New York. This commentary is adapted from an article in the June issue of Technology Review. and
Mikhail S. Gorbachev is reported this week to be visibly frustrated by the uncanny series of natural, man-made and man-aggravated disasters that have plagued his country during his regime. Sadly, even as news arrives of the latest catastrophe--a natural gas explosion in which nearly 500 are dead or missing--troubling evidence from previous disasters continues to accumulate, posing more challenges to Gorbachev's perestroika program. The latest findings about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster strongly suggest that about 15 Chernobyl-type reactors in the Soviet Union should be shut down.
January 23, 1986 | BETTYANN KEVLES
"If we were evolved a little further so we could see 10 times more sensitively, we wouldn't have to have this discussion," Richard Feynman explains in the first series of Alix G. Mauntner Memorial lectures delivered at UCLA. Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, has spent much of his scientific life making sense of the interactions between very small particles that none of us can see, such as electrons and photons, which are the substructure of the universe.
March 18, 2001 | JAN BRESLAUER, Jan Breslauer is a regular contributor to Calendar
Alan Alda is perched on the edge of a couch, getting fired up about photons. "A photon, a particle of light, bounces off a mirror and goes to your eye; it's clearly going from the lamp to the mirror to your eye," he says, gesticulating with sweater-clad arms flying, blue eyes flashing with puckish delight, as he pokes at several random points in space, including one perilously close to a reporter's eye.
The Mark Taper Forum has announced a 2000-01 season that will feature a wide range of contemporary work. August Wilson's latest play, "King Hedley II" (Sept. 14-Oct. 22), will follow in the wake of his first play, "Jitney," which closed at the Taper last weekend. Part of Wilson's series of plays set in different decades, "King Hedley II" is set in 1985 in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood where "Jitney" took place.
When she was a teenager, Michelle Feynman remembers playing a very Hollywood game--casting the story of her life. She picked Alan Alda to play her father. Alda is doing just that in the world premiere of Peter Parnell's "QED" at the Mark Taper Forum. Michelle's father, Richard Feynman, wasn't an ordinary man--he had worked on the Manhattan Project and was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965 for his research in quantum electrodynamics, or QED.
April 9, 1989
When Richard P. Feynman, the late, world-renowned physicist with a passion for puzzle-solving and for making mischief, received the call at 4 in the morning telling him that he had won the 1965 Nobel Prize for physics, his reaction was to say, "Yeah, but I'm sleeping !" By the fifth or sixth call he told the reporter from Time magazine, "I don't know how to get out of this thing. Maybe I won't accept the prize." But the combustible curmudgeon eventually relented. In "Surely You're Joking," Feynman tells stories of his childhood in Far Rockaway, of his studies at MIT and Princeton, of his experience on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, of his work as professor at Cornell and Caltech and of his research in theoretical physics.
May 22, 2005 | George Johnson, George Johnson's seventh book, "Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe," will be published in June.
A lot of money has been made from the literary estate of Richard P. Feynman, the Caltech physicist, Nobel laureate and performance artist, who stumbled into bestsellerdom in 1985 with a collection of anecdotes, transcribed from tape recordings, called "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" Three years later came a posthumous sequel, "What Do You Care What Other People Think?"
November 13, 1988 | Bettyann Kevles, Kevles writes about science for The Times
The announcement of Richard Feynman's death in February startled many of us who had known the Nobel Laureate at Caltech, even as we acknowledged that the cancer that killed him could not be fended off indefinitely. He called himself "a curious character." Certainly he achieved that status: self-created eccentric, would-be 20th-Century Leonardo, all-around genius with the added fillip of a sense of humor. He was a great physicist who looked on nature afresh each day.
What's art got to do with it? A lot more than people generally think. To educators fighting over school budgets, art and music frequently are viewed as frills that drain funds from more serious subjects like math and science. But scientists and mathematicians know different. In fact, they often rely on aesthetics to guide their research, filter their perceptions and help them visualize patterns in the sometimes impenetrable chaos of data.
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