"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

4.3 77
by Richard P. Feynman

ISBN-10: 0393316041

ISBN-13: 9780393316049

Pub. Date: 04/17/1997

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling

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A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

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Table of Contents

Introduction--Albert R. Hibbs


Part 1. From Far Rockaway to MIT
He Fixes Radios by Thinking!
String Beans
Who Stole the Door?
Latin or Italian?
Always Trying to Escape
The Chief Research Chemist of the Metaplast Corporation

Part 2. The Princeton Years
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
A Map of the Cat?
Monster Minds
Mixing Paints
A Different Box of Tools
The Amateur Scientist

Part 3. Feynman, the Bomb, and the Military
Fizzled Fuses
Testing Bloodhounds
Los Alamos from Below
Safecracker Meets Safecracker
Uncle Sam Doesn't Need You!

Part 4. From Cornell to Caltech with A Touch of Brazil
The Dignified Professor
Any Questions?
I Want My Dollar!
You Just Ask Them?
Lucky Numbers
O Americano, Outra Vez!
Man of a Thousand Tongues
Certainly, Mr. Big!
An Offer You Must Refuse

Part 5. The World of One Physicist
Would You Solve the Dirac Equation?
The 7 Percent Solution
Thirteen Times
It Sounds Greek to Me!
But Is It Art?
Is Electricity Fire?
Judging Books by Their Covers
Alfred Nobel's Other Mistake
Bringing Culture to the Physicists
Found Out in Paris
Altered States
Cargo Cult Science

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"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
lizzie_e More than 1 year ago
I am a student in the 10th grade and, although I never would have picked this on my own, based on the content and the little information I knew about it before i started reading it, I really enjoyed this book! I had to read this book for my 10th grade honors physical science class, and was pleasantly surprised! I was dreading having to read it (I'm not much of a nonfiction/scientific reader, I like light reads), but this book made it interesting, not boring to read about Richard Feynman's encounters in the scientific world.The topics covered in this novel are nothing I ever would have suspected to interest me, but I was surprised to find that I did not actually mind reading this book. Basically Richard Feynman is retelling and recounting upon his most intriguing journeys and the memorable circumstances he has been in. It chronicles his life from the beginning, as Feynman shares his exciting personal experiences with you. It reads as though you and Mr. Feynman are sitting down, sharing funny, memorable stories with each other, a very smooth read. When reading, I almost forgot that I was reading this for an assignment, because of the way the information is presented in such a relaxed, casual way. It is a bit lengthy, but it's just interesting enough that you'll want to keep turning those pages until you've reached the end. I would highly recommend this to anyone, assigned or not!
crazy4karate More than 1 year ago
this book is not just another book only about science. it has a lot of backround in it. i read this for a science class project and it was very entertaining. it was a book that i just kept reading and reading and i couldnt put it down! Dr. Feynman retells his life which is just so entertaining to read because he lead a full life. As i read i just gouldnt help but laugh out loud. i deffinatly recomend this book for anyone who likes science but loves a good laugh as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always thought about becoming a physicist and after reading this book, I am safely say that I would like to become a physicist and follow in the footsteps of Feynman. His witty charm and his down to earth tone shows how a mere man and can do soo much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is by far the most entertaining that I have ever read. He takes us through his daily adventures which seem completely unscience-like and shows that physics is not just guys in lab coats.
amy010 More than 1 year ago
A fascinating foray into the fun yet formidable physics of Mr. Feynman.  Actually, this book is less about physics and more about the life of Nobel Prize Laureate, Richard Feynman.  (Richard just rolled over in his grave; if you want to know why -- read this book!)  Once I adjusted  my expectations from education to entertainment, I absorbed every word.  He was always interesting, at times very entertaining and despite his obvious genius he had an utter lack of pretentiousness and conceit that I previously assumed afflicted all venerated scientists.  I left this book wishing for more, and feeling inspired to pursue my own adventures in curiosity.  What could I achieve if, like Richard, I abandoned my Western culture imperative of accomplishment through suffering and played with my talents in ways I felt was fun?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Feynman was brilliant first and foremost. Curiosity seemed to be the driving force behind his accomplishments and not the nobel prize he was awarded and with reluctance accepted. This is an easy read for anyone who enjoys great stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Feynman is a genius not only in physics but in storytelling as well.
JessicaZ123 More than 1 year ago
For my science class I had to read this book and I was not very excited about it at all because I am not a big book reader. I thought it was going to be one of those books just talking about straight science. But I was wrong. Once I started the book I could not put it down! Mr. Feynman is highly intelligent and a very curious guy. All of his experiences and adventures were very funny and entertaining! Although there were some dull parts in the book because I had no idea what he was talking about. But this made me go look up the things I didn't know about and i got to learn a lot! Throughout the whole book I learned so many things without having to make myself read it. It was not just science too. There were some things in the book that I had no idea what was out there. Mr. Feynman can also relate to almost everyone in his book. Reading about his college life about girls and jokes on his fraternity was very funny. He also talked about the war and how he helped out in it. I thought that was very interesting. Overall this book was highly entertaining and I recommend it to anyone! It is an easy read and you will not be able to put the book down. I hope you will enjoy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Surely You¿re Joking Mr. Feynman?¿ is a great book, if you¿re a physicist, and are really into science books and stuff like that. The book is made of great and funny little short stories about Richard Phillips Feynman¿s past life. If you are a fifteen year old young adult and you pick up this book, the first thing one would probably want to do is put it right back down. I recommend you do not do that this book is worth the price, and the 346 pages of reading. If it makes you happy the book also comes on disc. At the beginning of the book yes, I enjoyed it a lot. It was nothing like I thought it was going to be. It was just Feynman as a child talking about how he had a lab, and fixed radios as a kid. From reading Mr. Feynman¿s book, I can tell that his life is not as boring as most people would assume it to be. Once you get past his childhood, the book goes into when he was in a fraternity, that¿s when everything to me got interesting. People not believing what he was capable of just because of how nerdy he might have been. I thought that was quite interesting, because I have never heard of the Phi Beta Delta. Going past the Princeton years, the book got a little sciency (I know that is not a word), for me, It went way, way over my head after this point. With the equations, and all the science talk. But, once you thought the book was getting kind of weird, Feynman, had another crazy story to tell. Whether it was him getting into fights at a bar, or meeting a guy that tells him red and white makes yellow! Feynman never stopped surprising me with the way the book was going. So, I would recommend this book its fun to read, and it keeps you laughing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Richard Feynman gives the reader a first hand look into the experiences that made him into one of the most successful physicists of all-time. He gives a glimpse into fixing up radios as a youngster, experimenting in his colleges years, and working with other physicists in his older days. With a very personable and upbeat style of writing, the book chronicling Feynman’s life is sure to keep you interested. As a person very interested in the math and science, this book was very compelling to me, as I was introduced to the brilliant mind of Feynman. The creativity and ingenuity the Feynman possessed, at times, seemed almost unrealistic. Among many other reasons, the almost seemingly made up stories of his experiences are what really make this book captivating. Along the way, you will most certainly stop and think to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that” or “Wow! That guy is a genius” or “OOOOH… I never thought about it like that”. It’s these moments that really made the book worth reading to me. I am under the assumption, that if you are contemplating reading this book, then you are somewhat like me in that you are a math and science person. With that being said. if you aren’t perhaps you might brush up on some chemistry, calculus, and physics terms before you read the book (Or at least be ready to look words up as you read). The is geared towards an audience with a certain knowledge for such subjects and doesn’t waste any paper explaining the fundamentals of those subjects. Personally, I enjoyed this aspect because it keeps things moving along as no more than a page is needed to setup any long-winded account of some fantastic experiment. Without a doubt, this conglomeration of stories taught me a great deal about upper level ideas in math and science. Yet, even with all of the technical explanations, Feynman’s personality and private life is put out in the open to keep the book from reading like a college level textbook. While the chapters don’t always flow one into another, each one has a very specific purpose as it not only describes his scientific dealings but also unearths what was going on in his life at the time. A tremendously written book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, should be the next book you decide to immerse yourself into. Ready yourself for some of the most astounding and remarkable stories from one of the 20th century’s brightest physicists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose to read and review this book for my senior seminar class in college. It brings humor and a real-life light to the world of a working scientist. This is a great autobiography that let's into the mind of Richard Feynman, and emerges you into his stories that are humorous and highly entertaining. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a passion for science or an interest in autobiographies, it is one of the best ones I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wonderfully illustrates how research and study are only a small part of broadening the mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great quick read. Wonderful stories that had me laughing out loud.
Alex_Harris More than 1 year ago
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman was a collection of stories giving a narrative of Richard Feynman’s life as one of the most interesting men in physics in the twentieth century. I highly recommend reading, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman!”. It was a great read; I never wanted to put it down once I would start reading. This book kept you entertained the whole way through. Feynman was quite the fascinating character, always bouncing from one adventure to the next. You see him go through life and progress as a person and a scientist. He inspires you to want to take on new challenges and learn about the different wonders our world holds. While being enthralled in the read, you also learn a lot about physics, biology, different cultures, history, arts and more! Feynman is quite the out of the ordinary character. You see into his scientific way of thinking mind but also the goofy side to him that loved playing pranks on everyone around him. Feynman tells about his childhood, the start of his interest in science. You also learn about his time in college, learning and fooling around with his fraternity brothers, to working on the top-secret atomic bomb for World War II in Los Alamos. You hear many stories from his different professions, working in the military, traveling the world, learning the arts, to winning the Noble Prize for physics. As you watch Feynman learn throughout his life in this book, so will you. This is a great book that you must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman is a great novel for any type of person. You do not have to be an award winning scientist to understand or enjoy it. The novel has something in it for every type of person. It is a very well written and highly entertaining collection of stories from the life of Richard Feynman. I laughed out loud as I was reading the adventures that this man went through throughout his life and the crazy way that his discoveries came about. It is truly an inside look at the real life of Mr. Feynman. You get to see what the man was really like not only in his science and discoveries but also in his personal life. I was never bored when reading and I found myself having trouble putting the book down! The novel is definitely worth reading more than once as well. The stories never get old and you will continue to be amazed every time. As I read this book it changed by opinion of scientist and made me realize that they were just regular people that were able to come up with amazing breakthroughs. I would definitely recommend reading this book. You will not regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I'm only 13, I love this book. My dad gave this to me and it has easily become my favorite book. I think anyone that loves science should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Philip Feynman was definitely a curious character! I enjoyed reading this book very much. He led an absolutely complete life with many hilarious, and exciting adventures. All these wonderful Feynman stories are inspirational, and in some ways educational. Feynman is original and honest, and admits to what he doesn¡¯t know, and thoroughly explains his thoughts and innovations. Anyone who is curious in learning such things that he does, such as safecracking or surviving fraternities should read this book. However, his stories are randomly placed and sometimes the ending to his story is sudden and almost seems as if it was just brought up because it worth mentioning. This book is an easy read, and doesn¡¯t have many specifics on the science and the concrete history of Feynman. Nevertheless, the way it¡¯s written makes it seem as if Feynman was speaking out to the reader, making the reading experience a bit more personal. The book does not go in chronological order, and may sometimes confuse the reader but it does cover all the major parts of his life. His encounters with many famous people such as Einstein, Bohr, Nick the Greek, as well as many other famous scientists gives enough reason for one to recount their story, but the way and when he does encounter them, it makes his stories truly unique and original. One can thoroughly enjoy this well-written book containing the many accounts in his life for its picture of Feynman¡¯s curious mind. Scientists, physicists, students, safecrackers, absolutely anyone, ought to read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this for a class, but ended up really enjoying it. It's light-hearted, easy to understand, funny, and interesting. Who knew a Nobel Prize winner could be this funny?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this novel was very good. It had a good blend of Feynman's personal day to day experiences to his career experiences. He kept me very interested because of the different emotions prevalent in his stories. I would recommend any age group to read this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my 10th grade physical science class and although I would not read this book on my own, I actually enjoyed reading it! I found it very informative and I love how it wasn't just facts. He told stories of experiments with his friends and made the book enjoyable to read.-Anna M
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman was a funny, relatable story about his life. In the beginning of the book I thought it would be boring and filled with useless facts I would never need nor remember. But as I began to actually read it, I realized it was actually very fun and easy to relate to. It was very fun to learn about all the situations he had gotten himself into and was very easy to understand. I didn't have to consult a dictionary every five words to figure out what everything meant. For a tenth grade project I am very glad I chose this book as it was easy and fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book was about science, some parts were actually interesting. There were times when it got dragged on and became boring, and uninteresting. That being said, there were also times where it was very intriguing, such as when Mr.Feynman would talk about his life growing up and his stories. This made the novel more personal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school student, and science has never been my favorite subject. At first this book was for a project in physical science. I thought it was going to be one of those scientific books that are soo boring. It actually wasnt. Feynman shares some exciting personal experiences with you. Its almost as if your there. This was a really good book, and I recommend it for anyone. Yvette. A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago