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Richard Feynman on social science

Unlike Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat and Al Gore some people have deserved their Nobel Prizes. Feynman won his for probing the mysteries of relativistic quantum electrodynamics. He’s one of my absolute heroes. He was (deep breath) a physicist, artist, raconteur, safe-cracker, decipherer of Mayan hieroglyphs, dancer, lover, enfant terrible of the Manhattan project, visionary of nano-tech, explainer of superfluidity, a brilliant teacher and one of the brightest stars of the C20th. He was a genius and this is what he has to say on the social sciences…

9 Comments

  1. RAB says:

    That man should be cloned

    and one of him put in every Educational establishment in this world.

    Then Louis Armstrong could sing that song
    and we’d all believe him.

  2. Anthony says:

    NickM,

    That was excellent. Feynman didn’t need to know the world; he only had to know they weren’t doing science. But working in government, he must have had his share of self-appointed experts.

    I guess Hayek also had problems with these makers of mythology, and wrote a book called The Counter-Revolution of Science.

    Other than these, has there been anybody else, or have the critics been so few?

  3. Rob Fisher says:

    I’ve been watching some more from the same interview. The guy is an absolute joy to watch. I could listen to him all day.

    Regarding your other post about the state of physics education: imagine of someone like Feynman made a series of DVDs that formed a course in physics. Who would need school?

  4. Rob Fisher says:

    I’ve been watching some more from the same interview. The guy is an absolute joy to watch. I could listen to him all day.

    Regarding your other post about the state of physics education: imagine if someone like Feynman made a series of DVDs that formed a course in physics. Who would need school?

  5. NickM says:

    Alas RPP died in ’88. I do though have a copy of his “Lectures on Physics”. He took it upon himself to re-jig the entire Caltech undergrad curriculum. Well, I have volume 1. Volume 2 is presumably in DC with Dr Tanner. I loaned it to her for a perusal. Lovely woman, top-notch helios-seismologist and all. Terrible at returning books, got a post-doc with the USN. Never bought Volume 3. V3 was concerned with Kvantuum Mechanics (which should only ever be utterred in a faux Mittle European accent) preferably with a cowering hunchback in a Bavarian castle with a Tesla coil running full-tilt in the background. Full marks are only achieved if you then collapse into manic laughter and extra points are awarded for a suitable delivery of the line, “Mad! you call me mad! I who understand…”

    Feynman was the last of the magicians. He lived in Southern California with his wife Gwyneth, son Carl and adopted daughter Michelle. Me, I want Transylvania, stuff making sparks for no apparent reason and to employ the disabled. Ever amused that Hammer Movie castles usually have enough electrical kit to light a small town but are lit by flaming torches? Yeah, that’s me. I know fluid dynamics and stuff and if I can only get the deranged cackle sorted then I’m off.

    I will make one concesssion to modernity though. I shall obtain an assault rifle. Then when the outraged villagers turn-up with pitch-forks we is sorted.

  6. CountingCats says:

    A sprinkler system in the old windmill might come in handy too.

  7. NickM says:

    Windmill. That’s more George Green territory. Google him.

  8. Rob Fisher says:

    I was looking for a good book that would help me re-learn what I’d forgotten since A-levels, and learn more. So thanks, looks like I’ve found one. Now to find something similar for maths…

  9. [...] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by milkphat on July 11, 2008 Richard Feynman on social science http://www.countingcats.com/?p=511 – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by lihlii on July [...]

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