Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman (1918–1988), awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for work on quantum electrodynamics, was Professor of Theoretical Physics at CalTech. He was the author of QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character, and other books.

  • The Character of Physical Law, With New Foreword

    The Character of Physical Law, With New Foreword

    Richard Feynman

    An introduction to modern physics and to Richard Feynman at his witty and enthusiastic best, discussing gravitation, irreversibility, symmetry, and the nature of scientific discovery.

    Richard Feynman was one of the most famous and important physicists of the second half of the twentieth century. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, celebrated for his spirited and engaging lectures, and briefly a star on the evening news for his presence on the commission investigating the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, Feynman is best known for his contributions to the field of quantum electrodynamics. The Character of Physical Law, drawn from Feynman's famous 1964 series of Messenger Lectures at Cornell, offers an introduction to modern physics—and to Feynman at his witty and enthusiastic best.

    In this classic book (originally published in 1967), Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws and gathers their common features, arguing that the importance of a physical law is not “how clever we are to have found it out” but “how clever nature is to pay attention to it.” He discusses such topics as the interaction of mathematics and physics, the principle of conservation, the puzzle of symmetry, and the process of scientific discovery. A foreword by 2004 Physics Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek updates some of Feynman's observations—noting, however, “the need for these particular updates enhances rather than detracts from the book.” In The Character of Physical Law, Feynman chose to grapple with issues at the forefront of physics that seemed unresolved, important, and approachable.

  • The Character of Physical Law

    The Character of Physical Law

    Richard Feynman

    In these Messenger Lectures, originally delivered at Cornell University and recorded for television by the BBC, Richard Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws and gathers their common features into one broad principle of invariance. He maintains at the outset that the importance of a physical law is not "how clever we are to have found it out, but... how clever nature is to pay attention to it," and tends his discussions toward a final exposition of the elegance and simplicity of all scientific laws. Rather than an essay on the most significant achievements in modern science, The Character of Physical Law is a statement of what is most remarkable in nature. Feynman's enlightened approach, his wit, and his enthusiasm make this a memorable exposition of the scientist's craft. The Law of Gravitation is the author's principal example. Relating the details of its discovery and stressing its mathematical character, he uses it to demonstrate the essential interaction of mathematics and physics. He views mathematics as the key to any system of scientific laws, suggesting that if it were possible to fill out the structure of scientific theory completely, the result would be an integrated set of mathematical axioms. The principles of conservation, symmetry, and time-irreversibility are then considered in relation to developments in classical and modern physics, and in his final lecture Feynman develops his own analysis of the process and future of scientific discovery. Like any set of oral reflections, The Character of Physical Law has special value as a demonstration of the mind in action.

    • Hardcover $22.00 £16.95
    • Paperback $22.95 £18.95