Richard Feynman, fully Richard Phillips Feynman

Richard
Feynman, fully Richard Phillips Feynman
1918
1988

American Astro-Physicist, Author, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity

Author Quotes

What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school... It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see, my physics students don't understand it... That is because I don't understand it. Nobody does.

What I cannot create, I do not understand.

What I want to talk about is the problem of manipulating and controlling things on a small scale ... It is staggeringly small world that is below. In the year 2000, when they look back at this age, they will wonder why it was not until the year 1960 that anybody began seriously to look in this direction.

What Do You Care What Other People Think?

What does it mean, to understand? ... I don't know.

We've learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.

What did you ask at school today?

We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work.

We have this terrible struggle to try to explain things to people who have no reason to want to know.

Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure

We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.

We cannot define anything precisely! If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers, who sit opposite each other, one saying to the other, 'You don't know what you are talking about!' The second one says 'What do you mean by know? What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you?' and so on.

We are only at the beginning of the development of the human race; of the development of the human mind, of intelligent life--we have years and years in the future. It is our responsibility not to give the answer today as to what it is all about, to drive everybody down in that direction and to say: This is a solution to it all. Because we will be chained then to the limits of our present imagination. We will only be able to do those things that we think today are the things to do. Whereas, if we leave always some room for doubt, some room for discussion, and proceed in a way analogous to the sciences, then this difficulty will not arise.

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

We are lucky to live in an age in which we are still making discoveries.

We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified

We always had a great deal of difficulty in understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I'm an old enough man that I haven't got to the point that this stuff is obvious to me ... It has not yet become obvious to me that there is no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there is no real problem, but I'm not sure there is no real problem.

Upon identifying the reason for the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and his demonstration using immersion in iced water to show that O-rings grow brittle when cold.

We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty.

To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.

To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.

Things on a very small scale [like electrons] behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about. They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen.

To decide upon the answer is not scientific. In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar---ajar only.

Therefore psychologically we must keep all the theories in our heads, and every theoretical physicist who is any good knows six or seven different theoretical representations for exactly the same physics.

These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent. But logic is not all; one needs one's heart to follow an idea. If people are going back to religion, what are they going back to? Is the modern church a place to give comfort to a man who doubts God

Author Picture
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Feynman, fully Richard Phillips Feynman
Birth Date
1918
Death Date
1988
Bio

American Astro-Physicist, Author, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity