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Feynman

Feynman

[fahyn-muhn]
Feynman, Richard Phillips, 1918-88, American physicist, b. New York City, B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1939, Ph.D. Princeton, 1942. From 1942 to 1945 he worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He taught (1945-50) at Cornell and became professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology in 1950. The Feynman diagram, proposed by him in 1949, shows the track of a particle in space and time and provides a clear means of describing particle interactions. Feynman also made significant contributions to the theories of superfluidity and quarks. In 1957 he and Murray Gell-Mann proposed the theory of weak nuclear force. Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Shinichiro Tomonaga and J. S. Schwinger for work leading to the establishment of the modern theory of quantum electrodynamics. He wrote the influential Feynman Lectures on Physics (commemorative issue, 3 vol., 1990), Feynman Lectures on Gravitation (1994), and Feynman Lectures on Computation (1996).

See his Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (1985), What Do You Care What Other People Think? (1988), and The Meaning of It All (1998); Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman (2005), ed. by M. Feynman; biography by J. Gleick (1993); J. Mehra, The Beat of a Different Drum (1994); D. L. Goodstein and J. R. Goodstein, Feynman's Lost Lecture (1996); J. Gribbin and M. Gribbin, Richard Feynman (1997); G. J. Milburn, The Feynman Processor (1999).

(born May 11, 1918, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Feb. 15, 1988, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. theoretical physicist. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. During World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project. From 1950 he taught at the California Institute of Technology. The Feynman diagram was one of the many problem-solving tools he invented. With Julian Schwinger (b. 1918) and Shinichiro Tomonaga (1906–79), he shared a 1965 Nobel Prize for his brilliant work on quantum electrodynamics. He was principally responsible for identifying the cause of the 1986 Challenger disaster. Famed for his wit, he also wrote best-selling books on science. His work, which tied together all the varied phenomena at work in light, radio, electricity, and magnetism, altered the way scientists understand the nature of waves and particles.

Learn more about Feynman, Richard P(hillips) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born May 11, 1918, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Feb. 15, 1988, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. theoretical physicist. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. During World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project. From 1950 he taught at the California Institute of Technology. The Feynman diagram was one of the many problem-solving tools he invented. With Julian Schwinger (b. 1918) and Shinichiro Tomonaga (1906–79), he shared a 1965 Nobel Prize for his brilliant work on quantum electrodynamics. He was principally responsible for identifying the cause of the 1986 Challenger disaster. Famed for his wit, he also wrote best-selling books on science. His work, which tied together all the varied phenomena at work in light, radio, electricity, and magnetism, altered the way scientists understand the nature of waves and particles.

Learn more about Feynman, Richard P(hillips) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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