Genius: James Gleick - 1993

Published in 1992, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman’ was written by American scientific journalist and author James Gleick. This brilliant biography speaks of the wonderful life of Richard Feynman – the father of modern physics. The biography offers a comprehensive description of his experiments and theories over the course of more than 50 years.

Feynman was one of the most distinguished theoretical physicists of all time, being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He is especially known for his work in the theory of quantum electrodynamics, as well as the proposal of the parton model in particle physics.

Gleick describes that he not only had a huge thirst to learn but really was a genius, able to learn information extremely quickly, but also critically assess it and contribute.

“During a sabbatical he learned enough biology to make a small but genuine contribution to geneticists’ understanding of mutations in DNA.”

Gleick also describes Feynman’s vibrant life, who in addition to his academia was an avid storyteller and bongo player. It is this part of his creative nature which allowed him to think outside the box.

“Maybe that’s why young people make success. They don’t know enough. Because when you know enough it’s obvious that every idea that you have is no good.”

Probably the best biography of Feynman’s life, Genius is highly recommended for anyone interested in the nature of science during the time when his ideas were still rather controversial, to say the least. A real inspiration to go forth and discover!

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