If Richard Feynman had not existed it would not be possible to create him. The most extraordinary scientist of his time, a unique combination of dazzling intellect and touching simplicity, Feynman had a passion for physics that was merely the Nobel Prize-winning part of an immense love of life and everything it could offer. He was hugely irreverent and always completely honest - with himself, with his colleagues, and with nature. "People say to me, 'Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?' No, I'm not. I'm just looking to find out more about the world, and if it turns out there is a simple ultimate law that explains everything, so be it. That would be very nice to discover. If it turns out it's like an onion with millions of layers, and we're sick and tired of looking at layers, then that's the way it is ... My interest in science is to simply find out more about the world, and the more I find out the better it is. I like to find out."
This intimate, moving, and funny book traces Feynman's remarkable adventures inside and outside science, in words and in more than one hundred photographs, many of them supplied by his family and close friends. The words are often his own and those of family, friends, and colleagues such as his sister, Joan Feynman; his children, Carl and Michelle; Freeman Dyson, Hans Bethe, Daniel Hillis, Marvin Minsky, and John Archibald Wheeler. It gives vivid insight into the mind of a great creative scientist at work and at play, and it challenges the popular myth of the scientist as a cold reductionist dedicated to stripping romance and mystery from the natural world. Feynman's enthusiasm is wonderfully infectious.
It shines forth in these photographs and in his tales - how he learned science from his father and the Encyclopedia Britannica, working at Los Alamos on the first atomic bomb, reflecting on the marvels of electromagnetism, unraveling the mysteries of liquid helium, probing the causes of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, or simply trying to find a way through Russian bureaucracy to visit the mysterious central Asian country of Tannu Tuva. Feynman's story will fascinate nonscientists who would like to share something of the joys of scientific discovery, and it will delight those scientists who use Feynman's work but who never had a chance to meet him.