Aug 30

Feynman Trilogy

By Kenneth Feucht books Add comments

Six Easy Pieces, by Richard Feynman ????

This, and the subsequent two books, are actually not a trilogy, though they seem to go together, in providing a layman’s read for modern physics. Feynman has written a number of other popular-read books. In this book, Feynman, the noted Nobel-prize winning American physicist, includes six lectures that he gave at Caltech to explain fundamental physics to non-scientific types. While these lectures are very rudimentary, they exhibit the sheer brilliance of Feynman, who has the ability to make those principles that one strained over in college physics seem quite simple. This book is a fun read for both the scientifically literate, and those who are otherwise.

Six Not So Easy pieces, by Richard Feynman ????

Obviously, this is a continuation of the book reviewed above. This time, Feynman attempts the nobler task of explaining Einsteinian physics to laymen. He mostly succeeds, and even able to offer a rationale behind such formula as E=mc2. There are some formulae that he fears not tackle how they were derived, such as the Lorenz transformation. This book is a natural continuation of his previous text, and a fun read.

QED, by Richard Feynman ????

QED is what made Feynman a Nobel prize winner, in that he was able to tackle one of the dilemmas of quantum mechanics, that of applying quantum mechanics to electricity, etc., thus quantum electrodynamics. Feynman makes one thing perfectly clear, and that is that ultimately, he has no clue as to really understanding the nature of quantum physics. Quantum physics doesn’t make sense, but it seems to give the correct numbers to most, but not all, calculations. It provides only a model, and as we learn more, even more confusing data seems to grab our interest, such as all the new atomic particles that continue to be discovered. Feynman diagrams provide a rough visual experience as to how photons and electrons interact, though it also demands such explanations like time going backwards. I won’t hold my breath too much on the next installment of physics explanations. This was a fun though somewhat bizarre book to read, and, together with the other two books above, helps a non-physicist see where we’re at in the grand world of physics.

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One Response to “Feynman Trilogy”

  1. Uncle Dennis says:

    Feyman was not a Christian. He came from a New York Jewish background (Long Island) and was not really anti-religious, only anti-nonsense, and there is plenty of nonsense in religion. What is remarkable about Feynman is that he demonstrated some biblical character traits in some of his behavior that “good Christians” today characteristically lack. He was very forthright about truth and called nonsense by that name instead of trying to accommodate it into his outlook. In this regard he remained separated or distinct (holy) from the world of lies and deception. He distrusted government, especially after he was on a government-school textbook selection committee.

    He was honest to a fault. Once he agreed to give a talk on physics somewhere as long as he did not have to sign his name more than 12 times. The inviters thought that was not a problem and agreed. It turned out that signing the check they gave him as an honorarium would have taken a thirteenth signature and he wouldn’t do it. This caused plenty of trouble with the System, in trying to compensate him some other way. Here was a man limiting his involvement in an evil System by limiting his signatures, and he stuck to it, even though he could not cash the check. Most of today’s “wonderful Christians” would abandon their word under those circumstances and sign the check.

    So I have some respect for Feynman. He is also a good example to Christians of what it means to think for yourself rather than let the world or theological “experts” do your thinking for you. He was “outside the box”, open to new truth, and not terribly fond of his own conceits. I wish we all could be more like Feynman in these respects.

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