Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklySykes made three TV documentaries about physicist Feynman (1918-1988) in the late '80s, including a BBC feature by the same title as this photo-hagiography. Illustrated with more than 130 photos and reproductions of such ephemera as Feynman's childhood notes on science books and encyclopedia articles, the text is mostly from Sykes's scripted interviews and from Feynman's own Curious Character stories. Nonetheless, the range here is broadened by contributions from 18 family members and colleagues. A chapter on Feynman's role on the Challenger Committee, which investigated the causes of the 1986 explosion of NASA's Challenger space shuttle in which seven astronauts died, casts more light on the investigation than on Feynman. The format is reminiscent of the physicist's bestsellers, e.g., Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman , with pictures. Sykes's off-putting calculated reverence, however, doesn't conceal his subject's inimitable, irrepressible spirit. (May)
Library JournalThis is not a biography of Nobel Laureate Feynman-the gold standard for that is unquestionably James Gleick's Genius (LJ 10/1/92)-but rather a very interesting and pleasing compilation of anecdotes, interview excerpts, and conversations by a man who has made several excellent films about and with Feynman-including The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and No Ordinary Genius. Even for those who think they know Feynman and his work, this book is a rare and touching glimpse of him in his own words and in the words of those who knew him best. A pleasure to look through (there are more than 100 photos) and read and an excellent book for general and popular collections. A browser's delight.-Mark Shelton, Athens, Ohio
Donna SeamanFeynman was a brilliant and puckish physicist, dynamic teacher, charming storyteller, and all-around buffoon who inspired near hero worship in the people he worked and played with. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" (1984), a collection of autobiographical anecdotes, became a best-seller, while two major biographies, James Gleick's superbly readable "Genius" (1992) and this year's in-depth "The Beat of a Different Drummer" by Jagdish Mehra, delve into both his quirky personality and his influential career. This photo-album tribute presents a series of quick-but-intimate portraits through photographs of Feynman and friends and a selection of entertaining and revealing excerpts from interviews and conversations. The pictures and text are from the documentaries independent filmmaker Sykes made about Feynman's life and science. The supporting cast includes physicists Richard Davies, Freeman Dyson, David Goodstein, and John Archibald Wheeler as well as a couple of computer scientists, artists, musicians, and Feynman's children. The main events of Feynman's life--winning the Nobel Prize; working at Los Alamos; discoveries in superfluidity, diffusion, and radioactive decay; and investigation into the "Challenger" tragedy--are all discussed, as is Feynman's gift for having fun.
BooknewsSykes is a documentary filmmaker for BBC TV who grew to know the great physicist while making two films about his life. He has compiled selections from Feynman's writings and other sources and arranged them in topical chapters, supplemented with photos. Those who've read Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think? will find much that is redundant with those books, but the compilation is nevertheless a worthwhile and engaging presentation of the man and his work. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 8.32(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.09(d)
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