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  • Richard Feynman was an incredible scientist.

  • He spent most of his time at Caltech

  • the idea of quantum physics,

  • where all these particles are interacting in mysterious ways

  • he came up with a thing called Feynman diagrams that he won the Nobel Prize for.

  • Perhaps even more importantly he was an amazing teacher.

  • He did a series of lectures

  • which were for people who didn't specialize in physics.

  • It's such a great example of how he could explain things

  • in a fun and interesting way to anyone.

  • And he was very funny.

  • Incidently at the time of Kepler,

  • the problem of what drove the planets around the sun

  • was answered by some people

  • by saying that there were angels behind here,

  • beating their wings and pushing the planet along

  • around in orbit.

  • As we'll see that answer is not very far from the truth,

  • the only difference is

  • that the angels sit in a different direction

  • and their wings go

  • Dr. Feynman used a tough process on himself,

  • where if he didn't really understand something,

  • he would push himself:

  • "Do I understand this boundary case?"

  • "Do I understand why we don't do it this other way?"

  • "Do I really understand this?"

  • And because he had pushed himself to have such a deep understanding,

  • his ability to take you through the path of the different possibilities-- was incredible.

  • Oxygen for instance in the air,

  • would like to be next to carbon

  • and if they get near each other they'll snap together.

  • If you can get it faster,

  • by heating it up somehow, some way,

  • they come close enough to the carbon and snap in,

  • and that gives it a lot of jiggly motion.

  • Which might hit some other atoms making those go faster

  • so they can climb up and bump against other

  • carbon atoms

  • and they jiggle

  • and make others jiggle and you get a terrible catastrophe.

  • That catastrophe is a fire.

  • He's taking something that

  • is a little mysterious to most people

  • and using very simple concepts

  • to explain how it works.

  • He doesn't even tell you he's talking about fire until the very end

  • and you feel like you're kinda figuring it out together with him.

  • Feynman made science so fascinating,

  • he reminded us how much fun it is

  • and everybody can have a pretty full understanding,

  • So he's such a joyful example of how we'd all like to

  • learn and think about things.

Richard Feynman was an incredible scientist.

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The Best Teacher I Never Had

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    Samuel posted on 2018/03/03
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