Richard Feynman: physicist . . . Nobel winner . . . bestselling author . . . safe-cracker. In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his ...
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Richard Feynman: physicist . . . Nobel winner . . . bestselling author . . . safe-cracker. In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death. Anyone who ever wanted to know more about Richard P. Feynman, quantum electrodynamics, the fine art of the bongo drums, the outrageously obscure nation of Tuva, or the development and popularization of the field of physics in the United States need look no further than this rich and joyful work. One of School Library Journal’s Best Adult Books 4 Teens titles of 2011 One of Horn Book’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jumping from the Manhattan Project laboratories of Los Alamos, N.Mex., to the beaches of Rio, Ottaviani and Myrick's portrait of the Nobel Prize–winning physicist and general polymath Richard Feynman eschews chronology in favor of rhythm, and it's an approach that suits their subject perfectly. While Feynman's role in the creation of the atomic bomb and his contributions to 20th-century quantum electrodynamics are fascinating topics, they share equal time with his vaguely libertine (for a physicist, anyway) approach to romance and his tireless—and uneven—attempts to understand such nonscientific pursuits as art, language, safecracking, samba music, and cooking. Though he was indisputably one of the leading figures in the post-Einstein scientific landscape, Feynman's most enduring pursuit was making physics accessible to the layman, and several sections of the book illustrate how this impulse went beyond mere populism and came to dominate his scientific life. When he wasn't relaxing on the beach, he frequently chose teaching freshmen or lecturing to the general public over pure research. Myrick's light, sketchy inks keep the proceedings from bogging down, even in the lecture hall, and an extensive bibliography and sketchbook prove that the most dogged intellectual pursuit can still be a good time. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"These images capture with remarkable sensitivity the essence of Feynman’s character.  The comic-book picture somehow comes to life and speaks with the voice of the real Feynman.” — Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books



"Spectacular.” — The Horn Book, starred review



"...a penetrating and insightful biography" —Washington Independent Review of Books



"Challenging and thought-provoking" —VOYA review

VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
Having no interest in or knowledge of physics, this reviewer was prepared not to like nor to understand this biographical graphic novel about the life of physicist Richard Feynman, one of the great minds of the twentieth century. Instead, this is a fascinating look at the life of an eccentric genius, a man who worked on the Manhattan Project, won a Nobel Prize, was the first great physicist to teach freshmen classes, and was the investigator into the cause of the Challenger explosion who discovered the problem was the 0-rings. This work was so entertaining it was difficult to put down. This reviewer read it cover to cover in one sitting. The structure is part of the entertainment, switching around to go with the flow of his intriguing life, but it was that life itself that was so fascinating?everything from his interest in safe-cracking to art to languages to his irreverence towards authority to his reaction to his work on the atom bomb. Even his last words, upon forcing himself awake from a coma: "I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring." The artwork is an excellent complement, sharp and clear, to the story of his life and the scientific discoveries he helped to popularize. Challenging and thought-provoking, Ottaviani's third physics-related graphic novel is an impressive and solid contribution to the works about the amazing Mr. Feynman. The quote on the cover is from his mother, "If that's the world's smartest man, God help us." Reviewer: Bonnie Kunzel
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Kids who feel that all Nobel Prize-winning scientists are pedantic stuffed shirts will quickly change their minds after reading about the colorful and often hilarious life of physicist Dr. Richard P. Feynman, whose love for mischief and puzzles enabled him to feel just at home in the samba school of Copacabana as he did at Caltech. Discover how Feynman's insatiable curiosity led him to learn the art of safecracking while he was developing the atomic bomb at the Manhattan Project—allowing him to gain access to multiple secret documents (and earn the ire of an important colonel). See how Feynman's disdain for pomp made him try to refuse the Nobel Prize after he won the coveted award for his work in physics, and learn how Feynman's desire to explain physics theories to everyday people caused him to try and craft lectures on quantum electrodynamics—for astrology buffs. Readers will enjoy the funny anecdotes about Feynman's life (many of which are taken from the actual Feynman's popular books Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think?) as Feynman shows how genius isn't always measured by how many physics equations you know but by how willing you are to look at problems from different angles. Ottaviani and Myrick also fill part of their graphic novel with diagrams of photons and electrons as their comic book version of Feynman attempts to explain quantum electrodynamics to the reader. Here, some readers may find their attention drifting despite Feynman and the graphic novelists' sincere attempts to make these physics theories comprehensible to laymen (repeat readings may provide some illumination, however). Even so, most readers will finish this graphic novel with a newfound appreciation of Feynman, whose love of showmanship was balanced only by his humility in the realization that no one could truly comprehend all the mysteries of the natural world—although they could still have fun trying. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
Library Journal
Ottaviani's Two-Fisted Science includes several anecdotes drawn from the remarkable life of Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918–88). Those incidents are repeated here, woven into a full-length biography of this brilliant, irreverent, and insatiably curious man, moving from his early years when his father encouraged his interest in science, to his recruitment into the Manhattan Project, and on through his groundbreaking work in quantum electrodynamics and his career as a Caltech professor. Along the way, he also became a safecracker, a samba percussionist, the godfather of nanotechnology, and the key investigator of the space shuttle Challenger explosion. VERDICT Ottaviani casts Feynman, a renowned raconteur, as narrator of his own story and reveals his expansive personality and his inner emotional life in a wealth of well-chosen details and anecdotes—most movingly in an account of Feynman's despair in the wake of his first wife's death and the horrible destruction caused by the atomic bomb, and how the simple fun and joy he found in science helped him move on. A fine introduction to a great character; recommended for teens and adults.—S.R.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466804746
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 619,646
  • File size: 96 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

JIM OTTAVIANI (Feynman, Primates) is the world’s preeminent writer of comics and graphic novels about science. Notable works include a biography of Niels Bohr and the fast-paced tale of the desperate lives of early paleontologists and T-Minus: The Race to the Moon, from Aladdin books. He has worked as a nuclear engineer and is currently employed as a reference librarian in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  

LELAND MYRICK (Feynman, Missouri Boy) is the Ignatz Award- and Harvey Award-nominated author and illustrator of The Sweet Collection and Bright Elegy.  His writing and illustrations have appeared in publications as diverse as Dark Horse Comics, GQ Japan and Vogue Russia.  He grew up in Missouri, a place that has inspired much of his poetry and art, and he now lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife and daughter. 

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2012

    Really excellent use of the graphic medium for an unusual topic

    Very interesting use of a visual medium to tell the story of a visual thinker. Both the story itself and the artwork where very good. I really enjoyed this book, and it made me want to know more Feynman. I will be seeking out any and all other graphic books by the author Ottaviani for sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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