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Richard Feynman
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cardguy Offline
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Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman may or may not have being the smartest person of the 20th century. But - he was certainly the most fun of all the really really smart people of the past century.

Anyway - I just want to mention a couple of books he wrote. Instead of a traditional autobiography. Feynman published a couple of books filled with funny and interesting stories from throughout his life. Even winning the Nobel prize for physics is just passed off as another amusing story mid-way through the book.

He has great stories on cracking safes, pulling elaborate pranks, demanding a single dollar in payment from the US government, working on the Manhatten project, accidentally fooling people into thinking he was smarter than he was, sensory deprivation flotation tanks, hanging out with other geniuses, experiments with lucid dreaming and stumbling across the idea that would lead to his Nobel prize whilst sitting depressed in a caferteria staring at a spinning plate. Oh - and there is alot of painting, strip clubs and bongo drumming in there as well.

I read the books about 15 years ago and they still stand out as being the most enjoyable books I have ever read.

Everyone I have heard speak about the two books has praised them for being such good fun. And for showing how infectious it must have being to be around a genius like Feynman.

The two books are: Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman! and What do you care what other people think?

--------------------------------

Now - I just wanted to give an overview of his funny memoirs before sharing the following link. You see - in the books above - Feymann talks alot about his experiences with picking up women.

Indeed - one of the greatest moments of his life is when a friend teaches him early proto-'game' (this being the 1950's). And the following is a link to those parts of the books.

I am sure many of you will find it of interest.

Click here... [the link reprints the relevent chapter - but is sadly part of a feminist site who is trying to tear down the great man. Oh well!]

Cardguy

PS Feynman was not the only scientific genius to 'go his own way' when it came to figuring out how best to get what he wanted from women. Check out this contract that Albert EInstein got his wife to sign in a last ditch effort to save their marriage - Click here...
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 12:12 PM by cardguy.)
02-19-2013 12:10 PM
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RE: Richard Feynman
Couldn't agree more. "Surely you're joking" may be the best book I've ever read.
02-19-2013 12:21 PM
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RE: Richard Feynman
The Feynman Lectures are very good. I own those in hardcover.

In terms of raw intelligence, Von Neumann was probably the smartest scientist of the 20th century.

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02-19-2013 12:37 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Von Neumann is a very good call. He seemed to be brilliant in a bunch of different fields. Personally - my wild card would be Nikola Tesla. There is something very mystical about all the discoveries and inventions he made. He seemed to be like an alien from another planet.

As for Feynman - I always enjoyed this quote from Hans Bethe (who also won a Nobel prize in physics):

"There are two types of genius. Ordinary geniuses do great things, but they leave you room to believe that you could do the same if only you worked hard enough. Then there are magicians, and you can have no idea how they do it. Feynman was a magician."
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 12:50 PM by cardguy.)
02-19-2013 12:49 PM
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Parlay44 Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman

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02-19-2013 12:58 PM
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Teedub Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
(02-19-2013 12:49 PM)cardguy Wrote:  Von Neumann is a very good call. He seemed to be brilliant in a bunch of different fields. Personally - my wild card would be Nikola Tesla. There is something very mystical about all the discoveries and inventions he made. He seemed to be like an alien from another planet.

Yeah I'm intrigued by Tesla. I think the mystery surrounding him is appealing to Hollywood screenwriters as he's very easy to weave into sci-fi and alternative history stories to lend credibility to the story.

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02-19-2013 01:08 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
The CIA and FBI tracked Tesla in the years leading up to his death. Then soon after he died the FBI scooped the CIA by breaking into room and stealing all of his unpublished papers.

Another story I once heard was about Tesla working on an idea to precisely control the position of a single electron. By doing so - he thought it would open up some kind of wormhole which would enable him to have total control over all space and all time. Would love to know more about that one.

He also seemed to be a genius in the weird spooky way. He seemed to get alot of visions and hallucinations when working on problems. And towards the end of his life he fell in love with a white pigeon which used to land near his window.

They are just a few of the things I recall when I researched him a few years ago.

Also - there is a great scene from a movie about Tesla's life. In it - Orson Welles plays the industrialist JP Morgan. And during the scene (which is a meeting between Tesla and Edison about how to fund the electrification of America) you see Tesla and Edison spar with each other. It is great fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKiVjrQeZnk
02-19-2013 01:23 PM
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Teedub Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Wow, pretty interesting stuff. Could you point me in the direction of where you read about that stuff about him getting control over space and time? Sounds mega.

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02-19-2013 01:29 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
It was a few years ago. And it was just a small mention that I read on some website. It seems that Tesla rejected Einstein's work in Relativity and believed things like cosmic waves and the spinning of an electron could move faster than the speed of light.

So - it is probably related those areas. You can read about that on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesl...al_physics

Anyway - he is an interesting chap. And because nobody knows what was in his unpublished papers when he died I like to pretend that every ten years - the Americans go into a locked safe buried inside a secret room in a secret buliding in AREA 51 and pull out one of his unpublished papers. And that becomes the latest techology put out by companies like Apple and Microsoft.
02-19-2013 01:43 PM
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RE: Richard Feynman
He also believed that women would become the dominant sex:

http://www.tfcbooks.com/tesla/1926-01-30.htm

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02-19-2013 01:48 PM
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Architekt Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Richard Feynman
Loved surely you're joking, need to get a copy of the other one now
02-19-2013 01:55 PM
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Dulceácido Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Feynman is awesome. This is one of my favorites:







Hilarious...

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02-19-2013 01:56 PM
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thebassist Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
This is what sparked my interest in Nikola Tesla. Pretty sad stuff, once you get into it. Another genius abused by society and the greed of others.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

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02-19-2013 02:02 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Speaking of mind-bending ideas. You should look into Kurt Godel's work into the effects of Rotating Universes. Kurt Godel showed that such universe would allow for time travel:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2...me-travel/

Even though we don't live in a rotating universe - I find it interesting from a philosophical perspective. For thousands of years - philosophers discussed time in the same way we discuss God. As something completely unknowable. But since Einstein - we have being able to learn intriguing things about time. And that is as delightful to me as it would be if people - one day - were able to know a few random things about the nature of God. It just seems amazing that science has enabled us to get some kind of grasp over such a mysterious field.

People don't realise that time dilation doesn't just occur over vast speeds. It also occurs over vast distances (due to the curvature of space-time caused by gravity).

Here is something I got from an excellent Brian Greene book - The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality (the best popular physics book I have ever read. And my dad - a retired physics teacher - said the same thing):

You are sat here. Right now. Reading this. Probably (like me) in your bedroom.

Well - imagine an alien called Bob sat in his kitchen drinking a cup of alpha-splurge (or whatever it is they drink) two million light-years away. If you were 'God' you could see that you on the internet - and Bob millions of light-years away are existing at the exact same time - ie. NOW!

Well - imagine you now decide to get up and go to the toilet. As a result of that simple action - you and Bob no longer share the same geometric slice of 'space-time' - as a result Bob is now on a different slice of space-time which is 200 years behind yours. So - he doesn't even exist anymore.

To visualise this consider that whilst two points may be very close to each other - when sent as two straight lines across millions of light-years they will end up very far apart.

And now - the bell rings and you go answer the door. And now - from your perspetive of 'now' - Bob is now 400 years in the future - and has being dead for hundreds of years.

If there were a way to send your father to a planet millions of light-years away. You would be in weird situations where - depending on where you are located in your house - your father would not have even being born yet.

It is fascinating stuff. And a totally different take on relativity to that usually taught in books. You should check out the Brian Greene book for more information. I used to love all this stuff - but these days I concentrate on economics.
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 02:30 PM by cardguy.)
02-19-2013 02:04 PM
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Teedub Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
That was thoroughly fascinating. I love science. I wish I was good at maths because theoretical physics and futurism is a sort of passive interest of mine, and I would like to be more knowledgeable. Plus, it would have been a cool career for me. Admittedly, what I watch is in pop-science format on Discovery channel etc. You know, the shows always featuring Michio Kaku.

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(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 02:35 PM by Teedub.)
02-19-2013 02:34 PM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Also read his book. In addition to everything else, his take on women is classic. It's a perfect example of his ruthless intellectual honesty and commitment to discovering the truth. I get a kick out of seeing nerds officiously putting an asterisk next to his legacy because of those 'problematic' views of women.

Wasn't aware of the other book, will look into it.
02-19-2013 02:36 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Now might be a good thread to share my all-time favourite anecdote.

After Albert Einstein became famous for his Theory Of Relativity, he went on a lecture tour around America. Each day his driver would deliver him to a new town hall or unversity and sit at the back whilst Einstein gave his lecture. The people in the audience were usually a mixture of laypeople, students, lecturers and professors. This was back in the 1930's before mass media had made Einstein a globally recognised icon.

After a few weeks of the lecture tour - the driver suggested to Einstein that he had seen the lecture so many times that he felt he could actually give it himself.

Einstein - looking to have some fun - agreed to this and swapped clothes with his driver. At the next venue - the driver went up on stage to give the lecture without a hitch. Whilst Einstein sat at the back pretending to be the driver.

After the lecture was over - a professor of physics from the local university raised his hand to ask a difficult and obscure question to do with the integral calculus used in the mathematics underpinning the theory.

At which point - the driver on stage, pointing to Einstein in the audience, said 'my - that is an easy objection to answer. Why I think even my driver could answer it.'

Not sure how true it is. But it is pretty funny.
02-19-2013 02:50 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
The Feyman video linked to earlier is very good. Another hero of mine is Richard Dawkins - and Dawkins shares Feynman's obsession with trying to be as clear and accurate as possible when discussing their subjects with a layperson.

It seems that clear thinking is so important to them when carrying out research that they are determined to make use of it when explaining their work as well.

Whilst I am an atheist it isn't a religion to me. So to speak. Whereas with Dawkins he seems to have gotten sidetracked from the beautiful work he was doing in Biology a few decades ago. I am guessing he is burned out and wants to focus on something else. Alot of physicists used to do the same towards the end of their careers when they would start writing more philosophical works about the nature of science.

Anyway - just want to pass along this hilarious video. It is of Richard Dawkins reading out some of the hate mail he has being sent because of his views about religion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZuowNcuGsc
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 03:41 PM by cardguy.)
02-19-2013 03:35 PM
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Icarus Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
(02-19-2013 03:35 PM)cardguy Wrote:  The Feyman video linked to earlier is very good. Another hero of mine is Richard Dawkins

Please do not compare Dawkins to Feynman. Feynman was a giant: his work on path integrals and Feynman diagram truly is titanic. Dawkins, on the other hand, is a 3rd rate intellect who wrote a pop-sci bestseller in the 1970s and has been shamelessly self-promoting since, despite his non-existent contribution to human knowledge.

Feynman was an excellent marketer, and so is Dawkins. However, Feynman was also an excellent scientist, whereas Dawkins is a mere "professional celebrity" (not too above the Kardashians).

"The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the other fellow married her." – H.L. Mencken
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 04:28 PM by Icarus.)
02-19-2013 04:26 PM
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RE: Richard Feynman
Feynman knew porn stars, apparently:

Quote:A while back I was invited to a strange, but nevertheless interesting party. At this party there were all sorts of people from various professions. During the course of the evening, one very buxom woman came up to me and introduced herself. It turns out that she was a well-known stripper and actress in adult movies by the name of Candi Samples. When she found out that I studied physics she asked whether I knew a guy by the name of Dick Feynman. "Yes," I replied,. I must admit I was rather astonished to hear his name in this connection. "He is one of my biggest fans..." she said.

A few days later I am in Feynman's office and we are talking when I say to him, "Hey, I ran into an interesting acquaintance of yours at a party the other night. Her name is Candi Samples."

Feynman immediately smiled and said, "Hey, Al, look at this!" He went over to his file cabinet, which I thought contained all of his most important and intellectual works. It didn't take him long to pull out a black and white autographed nude shot of Candi Samples, inscribed, "To Big Dick, Love from Candi!"

"The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the other fellow married her." – H.L. Mencken
02-19-2013 04:32 PM
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Lucky Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
I like to watch this video in 10-15 minute increments over the course of a few days. Feynman is so passionate you can't help but get caught up in his words.



02-19-2013 07:39 PM
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RE: Richard Feynman
(02-19-2013 04:26 PM)Icarus Wrote:  
(02-19-2013 03:35 PM)cardguy Wrote:  The Feyman video linked to earlier is very good. Another hero of mine is Richard Dawkins

Please do not compare Dawkins to Feynman. Feynman was a giant: his work on path integrals and Feynman diagram truly is titanic. Dawkins, on the other hand, is a 3rd rate intellect who wrote a pop-sci bestseller in the 1970s and has been shamelessly self-promoting since, despite his non-existent contribution to human knowledge.

Feynman was an excellent marketer, and so is Dawkins. However, Feynman was also an excellent scientist, whereas Dawkins is a mere "professional celebrity" (not too above the Kardashians).

While yes nowadays Dawkins is more known for being a celebrity due to vocal religious criticism, don't forget, as cardguy mentioned, he still had some interesting work done with biology:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

To say he's just a "professional celebrity" similar to the Kardashians is really unwarranted. Dawkins still uses logic and does bring up interesting meaningful discussion, whereas the kardashians are focused on stupid trivial matters.

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(This post was last modified: 02-19-2013 08:43 PM by Emancipator.)
02-19-2013 08:42 PM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Here is a different take on Feynman from Murray Gell-Mann (who also won the Nobel prize for physics). It describes how annoying Gell-Mann started to find Feynman after a few years of working with him:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnMsgxIIQEE
(This post was last modified: 02-21-2013 01:07 AM by cardguy.)
02-21-2013 12:51 AM
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RE: Richard Feynman
Rumor is that G Manifesto's Gentleman's Club Data Sheet is actually based on Feynman's personal notes. Or maybe it's the other way around.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2016 09:43 PM by poutsara.)
02-21-2013 02:31 AM
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cardguy Offline
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RE: Richard Feynman
Earlier in this thread I gave an interesting thought experiment. Below is the first paragraph of my description.

Quote:People don't realise that time dilation doesn't just occur over vast speeds. It also occurs over vast distances (due to the curvature of space-time caused by gravity).

Anyway - today - I was thinking about this some more. And what the consequences of such time dilation would be for our notions of Free Will. I am a philosophy student drop out so I find myself doing this from time to time.

I was thinking about the following Einstein quote as well:

Quote:"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

The quote seems to suggest that Einstein didn't believe in Free Will - if the past, present and future are already fixed. Of course there are other ways of analysing this situation (thousands of articles and books have being devoted to the philosophy of Free Will.)

Anyway - I just did a search online to see what others have made of the link between time dilation (as described in the thought experiment earlier in this thread) and Free Will.

Well - I came across this. And I just want to pass it along since it seems others have analysed this area as well. And hopefully it will be of interest to those who have enjoyed the earlier discussions in this thread.

So - I present to you The Andromeda Paradox:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Special_Rel...da_Paradox
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2013 08:32 PM by cardguy.)
03-23-2013 08:30 PM
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