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The Big Questions - Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman on the big questions. Video is from 1981 BBC Horizon program "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out." There is also a book The Pleasure of Finding Things Out Another of my favorite Feynman books is Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!



Quicktime Video 4.16MB 4'14
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Comments

Yeah. And all this from a man who practically invented the destruction of how many people? I suppose, just because he's anti-religion and has some interesting Disney-like stories we're all gonna be enlightened. Come on now, bite my head off, rip me apart....

Where can I get a hold of this full interview?

There is a torrent here http://www.demonoid.com/torrents/details/320664/

If you need an invite to get on the site email me.

tommi,

Interesting that you would raise that issue, it is one he address in the video. Basically he says he originally signed on because he believed the Germans were getting close and we needed it to defend ourselves. He does regret that he continued to work on it after Germany surrendered since the original reason he signed on no longer existed. It's an excellent point if you decide to do something you should keep in mind your reason for doing it and if that changes you should also change. I strongly recommend you download and view the entire video.

If you haven't seen them check out the Richard Feynman's "Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures" at Auckland University. I saw them on video but they are on-line at: http://www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8

What a Master Mind!! What a shame He's not around anymore.

What a Master Mind!! What a shame He's not around anymore.

Tommi,

Good point, but keep in mind that it was a team of many scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project. Some of the greatest minds of our time! It was a very strange time for science. We had so many great discoveries and technologies being created, but instead of working for something positive and illuminating, tons of money and effort went into creating weapons. It was fear that led our scientists there.

When J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Project, saw the blast for the first time in New Mexico, he quoted a fragment from the Bhagavad Gita: "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." All of the scientists had to come to terms with what they had created.

It's been discussed many times before, over the years, this sad fact that so much time and effort and money and genius was wasted on creating the atomic bomb. If those minds were working on something else... maybe we'd have settlers on Mars by now. Who knows. You bring up a good point, but you gotta think about the context.

Feynman doesn't really sound super anti-religion here, he just sounds like he is a big time empiricist. This comes naturally, I would think, if you are a scientist. I am really enjoying these clips. Wish I could have lunch with the guy.

Jamey, Norm, thank you for your courtesy. But... Norm, your choice of scientist here is a mistake. A better choice would have been A. Einstein - a humble and honest scientist who didn't put silly things like mathematics on a pedestal and his life and how he lived wasn’t a contradiction. Still, I plan on using the wagon/ball analogy with my 8 year old.

Tommi- Perhaps Norm should have chosen some classic clips of you to post on the website. You could have delivered an off-hand, tongue-in-cheek oratory on your literary works all while coyly shrugging off the media's comparisons of you with Thomas Beckett as you do on your website. Surely you would regale us with tales of the truly important things in life as opposed to the "silly things like mathematics" that you toss out like used tissue.

I suppose that mathematics is much more than what you make it if it's a means by which you gain a deeper understanding of the world. I'm just guessing here, but I'd suppose that he's not discussing such mathematics that one would use to balance the checkbook here.

Sorry to not be as courteous as those above, but your pompous disdain for this man and his work is hard to ignore.

I guess it's true, clownfish, that Feynman worked hard, and he certainly had amazing insights (his idea of path integrals is nothing short of brilliant), but his "doubt" that he mentions is, I think, remarkably provincial when he applied it to, say, working on the A-bomb, or speaking out against injustice -- which I think he once said he felt no real obligation to do.

You shouldn't confuse brilliance for sainthood, is all.

Why is there no video?

Tommi wrote: "Norm, your choice of scientist here is a mistake. A better choice would have been A. Einstein - a humble and honest scientist who didn't put silly things like mathematics on a pedestal and his life and how he lived wasn’t a contradiction."

It is odd, to put it mildly, that Tommi should want to bury Feynman while praising Einstein. Surely, Tommi is aware of Einstein's letter (page 1 page 2) to President Roosevelt that helped launch the race for the A-bomb in the first place? If anyone is guilty of pedestalism here, it is Tommi.

In fairness to Feynman and Einstein, both scientists later came to regret aspects of their respective roles in the genesis of the nuclear arms race.

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