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"The game I play is a very interesting one. It's imagination, in a tight straitjacket."
January 5, 2012 11:31 AM   Subscribe

From 1981 - 1993, documentary producer Christopher Sykes created three films about Dr. Richard Feynman. All are now available in their entirety on YouTube: Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and Last Journey of a Genius (previously).

On February 2011 Michelle Feynman, Richard's daughter, introduced Christopher Sykes for his talk at TEDxCaltech: Fun to Imagine

When No Ordinary Genius aired on PBS, it was abbreviated to fit NOVA's hour-long format. The subsequent show was titled: The Best Mind Since Einstein.

First video link in this post is via BrainPickings.

Also see:

Sykes' Fun to Imagine Series, is a set of short video interviews with Feyman on specific topics: (Previously)

1: Jiggling Atoms
2: Fire
3: Rubber Bands
4: Magnets (and 'Why?' questions)
5: Bigger is Electricity!
6: The Mirror
7: The Train
8: Seeing Things
9: Big Numbers and Stuff (i)
10: Big Numbers and Stuff (ii)
11: Ways of Thinking (i)
12: Ways of Thinking (ii)
posted by zarq (14 comments total) 91 users marked this as a favorite

 
fantastic find - the previous snippets on you tube only give a taste of this mans genius.

love it when he is asked to explain magnetism and essentially says "you wouldn't get it" [my paraphrasing].
posted by SueDenim at 11:39 AM on January 5, 2012


Fascinating! I wish I had time to watch more of this right now. Thanks!
posted by theredpen at 11:45 AM on January 5, 2012


Wow, Joan Feynman and acts like Richard Feynman pretending to be a woman, Monty Python "pepperpot" style. Uncanny.
posted by DU at 11:47 AM on January 5, 2012


love it when he is asked to explain magnetism and essentially says "you wouldn't get it"

It was a bit deeper than that. He explained the difficulty of 'explaining' and 'understanding' itself.
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on January 5, 2012


A wonderful person. Thanks very much!
posted by carter at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2012


There's also a recent comic book biography of Feynman.
posted by Zed at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2012


...acts like Richard Feynman pretending to be a woman, Monty Python "pepperpot" style.
Today, after more than four decades of geophysical research, my mother, Joan Feynman, is getting ready to retire as a senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is probably best known for developing a statistical model to calculate the number of high-energy particles likely to hit a spacecraft over its lifetime, and for her method of predicting sun spot cycles. Both are used by scientists worldwide. Beyond this, however, my mother's career illustrates the enormous change in how America regards what was, only a few decades ago, extremely rare: a scientist who's a woman and also a mother.

To become a scientist is hard enough. But to become one while running a gauntlet of lies, insults, mockeries, and disapproval-this was what my mother had to do. If such treatment is unthinkable (or, at least, unusual) today, it is largely because my mother and other female scientists of her generation proved equal to every obstacle thrown in their way.

posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ummmm...I'm not lying, insulting, mocking or disapproving. I'm noting a family resemblance.
posted by DU at 11:58 AM on January 5, 2012


I'm noting a family resemblance.

By calling her a Monty Pythonesque drag-queen caricature? Kind of a backhanded compliment, don't you think?

It doesn't matter.

The article provides more information about her life and the many challenges she had to overcome in order to be accepted as a physicist in her own right. Its last paragraph in particular is rather wonderful. Worth reading.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brilliant find. Thanks.
posted by Splunge at 12:12 PM on January 5, 2012


empath: " He explained the difficulty of 'explaining' and 'understanding' itself."

Ha, that poor interviewer.
posted by theredpen at 12:16 PM on January 5, 2012


These are great, I've seen the train and the magnets one around the web and always wondered where they came from. Thanks.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:27 PM on January 5, 2012


These are wonderful. Thank you so much for posting!!
posted by sc114 at 12:52 PM on January 5, 2012


The story of Joan Feynman's travails - e.g. being advised to do her thesis on cobwebs - reminded me of that of Henrietta Leavitt, who as an 'assistant' at Harvard discovered, in 1908, the significance of Cepheid variable stars (the first measure of interstellar distances). A 1912 confirming article 'by' Edward C. Pickering says (as an opening note) Leavitt 'prepared' it. For Joan, 40 years later, the G.O.B. network hadn't changed.

Richard's remarked in the Challenger case that nature couldn't be fooled by PR. Limos and suits created that disaster (Feynman was used to get the truth out because he couldn't be inconspicuously 'removed'). What happened to the US economy in 2007 was in many ways a similar disaster, with similar causes. The problem is the quality of leadership, and until we solve that problem we're guilty of trying the same failing solution over and over (there's a term for that).
posted by Twang at 10:48 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


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