Special Sub-Topic: What Would Feynman Say?
|Feynman was born in 1918, in Queens, New York. His family believed in a deity. What was the family religion?|
Judaism. Richard Feynman was one of two physicists to come from this American Jewish family. His sister, Joan, had a particular interest in astrophysics. Feynman had a characteristic common to many geniuses, particularly in the field of physical science; he was a late talker. Like Albert Einstein before him, his delayed speech did not prove to be a problem later in life. He excelled and surpassed the ability of the bulk of, not just the American population, but that of the world.
He later stopped following Judaism and was believed to be an atheist for much of his life.
|Richard Feynman was a contributing physicist to the ______ Project.|
Manhattan. The Manhattan Project was responsible for the development and production of atomic bombs which were later used to decimate the cities and populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. This was a rather pensive period for Feynman and, interestingly, he saw the development of nuclear weapons as the dawning of a new age. There was one particular instance whereby he watched construction workers building a bridge. He saw that their efforts and attempts were in vain due to the fact that after the atomic bomb was developed, it could be destroyed at any moment in the future. Possibly it was one of the more cynical moments of Richard Feynman's life, though perfectly understandable with the knowledge that he had due to being a scientist involved in the Manhattan Project.
|Richard Feynman popularised a particular teaser in one of his books. He wanted to know what would happen to the direction of a particular object after it had been fully submerged in water. What was this particular object?|
Sprinkler. Well, this little conundrum has yet to be solved conclusively, though when it does get "solved" many will not agree - so, in reality, it is unlikely that an answer will ever be discovered! Many different suggestions have been given by many academics and professors, as well as amateur physicists. The basis of the problem is, when a reverse sprinkler is placed into water, what direction will the sprinkler move? The three possible options are, firstly, that the sprinkler would spin forward. Secondly, that the sprinkler would spin backward, or, finally, that the sprinkler would not spin at all. What do you think?
|Which American university refused to accept Feynman due to the fact that they implemented a particular, now discriminatory, quota?|
Columbia. I found this to be one of the most interesting facts about the New York university that I have come across. At the time of Feynman's application to Columbia, the university had a "Jewish quota". This had already been met and his application subsequently rejected. This episode is in stark contrast to the Columbia University of today. It boasts a great history of diversity amongst its alumni.
Feynman eventually ended up at the impressive Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he gained his bachelor's degree. He would later become Dr. Richard Feynman, by earning a PhD from Princeton University, New Jersey.
|Feynman, like many other physicists, was very witty. There exists an abundance of quotes on a myriad of different topics. One such quote referred to how easy it is to fool humankind. Who did he say should be thought of as the easiest person to fool?|
The person themselves. "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool." This follows a recurring theme of the sort of quotes Feynman used to come up with. This goes hand in hand with another quote of his which was,"I'm smart enough to know that I'm dumb". There are many parallels therefore between the thoughts of Feynman and the line of thinking suggested by many other scientists, philosophers and academics. Probably the most famous quote which displays innate human ignorance is,"True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you smartest of all." (Socrates).
|What is the missing word in the following Feynman quotation? - "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with _______, it's wrong."|
Experiment. I think this is one of his greatest quotes and it accurately sums up science. Experiment is everything, though the reliability of your results from a particular experiment are never reliable and you should always doubt your accuracy. He has said some marvellous things about science, and also religion for that matter. One such quote that combines both of these areas of interest is as follows,"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt".
|"The theoretical broadening which comes from having many ______ subjects on the campus is offset by the general dopiness of the people who study these things." What is the missing word in this controversial quote?|
Humanities. Richard Feynman was always a man who spoke his mind and he had a knack for angering people. The above quote was just one of many that had a mocking tone for subjects such as history, classics and of course psychology. He took a particular dislike to psychological methods and this is seen in one particular quote of which the following is an excerpt, "[story about a witch doctor]... but I keep trying to tell him he doesn't know what he's doing and that someday when people investigate the thing freely and get free of all his complicated ideas they'll learn much better ways of doing it. Who are the witch doctors? Psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, of course." He delivered this message to students in a guest lecture at the University of Washington. The entire psychology department of the university left the lecture there and then!
Despite these opinions, Feynman did not believe that physics were the most important thing in the world. Memorably, he told a lady named Mrs. Chown, that her son should stop teaching her physics because there is something far more important - love.
|In which year did Richard Feynman win the Nobel Prize in Physics?|
1965. Feynman was one of three physicists to receive this most remarkable of awards. The Nobel Prize in Physics was split between Sin-Itiro Tomonaga of Japan, Julian Schwinger of the United States and of course, Richard Feynman. It was awarded for their contributions to quantum electrodynamics, a particularly interesting field in quantum physical mechanics.
|Richard Feynman was a recipient of the ěrsted Medal.|
t. The highly decorated Feynman was awarded the ěrsted Medal in 1972, seven years after being made a Nobel laureate in physics. The ěrsted Medal, named after the Danish chemist and physicist, Hans Christian ěrsted, rewards those who greatly contribute to the teaching of physics. Other Nobel laureates who have been awarded this medal include: Freeman Dyson and Carl Sagan. Interestingly, Freeman Dyson once said of Feynman that he is,"half-genius, half-buffoon". Though later rectified as being "all-genius".
Just as a note of clarification, the name ěrsted is sometimes seen as Oersted.
|Who was the biographer of Feynman, responsible for the publication of the biography, 'Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman'?|
James Gleick. 'Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman' is a fascinating biography that shows not only the life of an innovative, ground-breaking quantum physicist, but, the emotional human being that lies beneath the facade of genius.
James Gleick, like the man whose life he documented, was born in New York. He has also written biographies on other famous physicists including the inspirational Isaac Newton.
I hope you enjoyed the quiz. Thanks for playing and glimpsing in to the mind of a man who was not only a true genius, but a man who has a legacy that will be remembered in science and mathematics for many a year to come.
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