The Quotable Feynman

Richard Feynman

“How can you live without knowing, some people ask. I am unsure about their meaning. I never know what I’m doing. That is simple. What I want to know is how you found out.” Feynman, Richard P.

Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who lived from 1918 to 1988, was that rarest of creatures: a towering scientific genius who could explain himself to anyone and who rose to fame both for his fundamental contributions to science and for the wit and wisdom of his popular lectures and writings. The Quotable Feynman is a treasure mine of this esteemed and adored scientist’s most insightful, thought-provoking, entertaining, and enduring statements on a variety of topics.

The quotations were carefully chosen by Richard Feynman’s daughter, Michelle Feynman, from his oral and written legacy, including interviews, lectures, letters, articles, and books. They are grouped under twenty-two topics, ranging from mathematics, politics, science, religion, and uncertainty to art, childhood, discovery, family, and humor. These succinct passages—about 500 in total—clearly illustrate Feynman’s astounding yet lighthearted intelligence as well as his almost innate incapacity to be anything but unique, interesting, and motivating. The result is a distinctive, instructive, and enjoyable depiction of Feynman’s life and work that will be appreciated by his supporters while also serving as the perfect introduction to this fascinating and significant thinker for readers unfamiliar with him.

In the book’s foreword, physicist Brian Cox pays tribute to Feynman and discusses how his writings reveal his unique genius. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma also contributes a piece in which he recalls Feynman and considers his enduring appeal, while Michelle Feynman provides a personal prelude. A timeline of Richard Feynman’s life, twenty or so images, some previously unpublished quotes, and a portion of famous quotes about Feynman from other well-known people are also included.”