The Physical Worldornament
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The Restless universe
Introduction to The restless Universe

1 The lawful Universe

2 The clockwork Universe

3 The irreversible Universe

4 The intangible Universe

5 The uncertain Universe

6 Closing items


Other titles in the Physical World series

Describing motion

Predicting motion

Classical physics of matter

Static fields and potentials

Dynamic fields and waves

Quantum physics: an introduction

Quantum physics of matter

Featured Physicists

Richard P.Feynman (1918-1988)

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Richard Phillips Feynman was one of the most colourful and celebrated of US physicists. He was born in New York in 1918 and educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Princeton. From 1942 to 1945 he was involved in the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos, where he gave ample evidence of his enormous technical virtuosity as well as earning himself a reputation as a practical joker.
figure 1.34, Richard P. FeynmanFigure 1.34
Richard P. Feynman
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After the Second World War Feynman went to Cornell University where he became one of the major figures in the development of quantum electrodynamics (QED). During this period he also devised his own approach to quantum mechanics called the 'path integral' or 'sum over histories' approach. This has since been applied to quantum field theory and is now the standard formalism in many areas of the subject.

In 1950 Feynman moved to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where he remained for the rest of his life. While there, he worked on many topics, including the theory of fundamental particles, the theory of superfluidity and the nature of the forces and interactions within the atomic nucleus. He became renowned as a teacher of physics, combining profound physical insight with a very down-to-earth style. Towards the end of his life, when already ill with cancer, he was invited to join the commission investigating the in-flight explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. As part of that work he memorably demonstrated, in front of a massive TV audience, the disastrous effect of low temperature on the booster rocket's O-ring seals by dropping one of them into a glass of iced water.

Feynman will long be remembered as one of the twentieth century's greatest exponents of intuitive - yet highly rigorous - physics. The three volumes of Feynman Lectures on Physics from his Caltech years, and Feynman's autobiographical works 'Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman!' and 'What Do You Care What Other People Think?' also ensure that he will be remembered as a character of extraordinary insight, wit and charm. In 1965 Feynman shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-itiro Tomonaga.

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