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Feynman Paper Final

Feynman Paper Final

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Published by Jeremy Keeshin

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Published by: Jeremy Keeshin on Jun 09, 2007
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Any paper about Richard Feynman is inherently unconventional. That’s becauseRichard Feynman was an unconventional hero. There are the great superheroes, such asSpiderman, who will take down some evil villain and save the world from entropy. Thereare the historical heroes, who took a step towards justice and away from unfairness. Thenthere are the everyday heroes who will help a kid with his homework, or make a sacrificeto assist someone else. However, those aren’t the only heroes. A hero is anyone whoaccomplishes something positive that hasn’t been done before, and they do it with their own unique style. The funny thing about Feynman is that he encompasses all of that, andhe does it all with his own manner. (Right now, one might be thinking, “No way! Getout!” Yes it is possible). A hero is like someone that works at SBC, they go beyond thecall. Not only did Richard Feynman go beyond the call, he ended up winning the NobelPrize while he was at it.If one were a great gourmet chef working in the kitchen of a restaurant called
 Heroes
and a really obnoxious, hard to please customer asked for the best thing at therestaurant, the chef would probably cook up a little Feynman. And yes, even he, thesnotty customer, would be satisfied. He would be satisfied because of the many valuableand noteworthy traits that are in any Feynman entree. This is a paper of the heroics of Richard Feynman: physicist, genius, and super cool guy. Richard P. Feynman, althoughunsung, is a hero in his own right because of the many attributes he possessed thatseparated him from the regular populace, such as his determination, his revolutionaryideas, and the fact that he was a real down to earth good person who helped others.An essential prerequisite to being a hero is determination. Persistency is a severecase of commitment combined with a twist of cleverness and a hefty dosage of drive toJeremy Keeshin 1
 
solve problems. Richard Feynman had that. He had a lot of that. A prime example of hisdetermination was the manner in which he thought about puzzles. Once he wasapproached with a puzzle, there was no putting it down for him. As Albert R. Hibbs statesin the introduction of Feynman’s book, Richard Feynman had an “almost compulsiveneed to solve puzzles” (8). Any person equipped with this “compulsive need” was trulyready to face the world and all of its challenges. Never was there a person as ready asRichard Feynman. He lived his life like he was ready. Only a person with his doggednessand perception could have cracked safes like he did. A quote that really sums it up fromhis book goes as such: “In 10 minutes I had opened the safe that contained all the secretdocuments about the plant. They were astonished. The safes were apparently not verysafe. It was a terrible shock: all this “eyes only” stuff; top secret, locked in this wonderfulsecret safe, and this guy opens it in ten minutes!” (Feynman 144). The most interesting part about Feynman’s safe undertaking was the way at which he learned this modusoperandi. He came up with his own clever method, and kept at it until he had mastered it.That is truly a Feynman characteristic.There were other ways he solved problems besides cracking safes. In his earlier scientific undertakings, he was a radio fixer savant. He was having difficulty, but becausehe kept at it, he was able to achieve his goal. “I finally fixed it because I had and stillhave, persistence. Once I get on a puzzle, I can’t get off…I have to keep going to find outultimately what is the matter with it at the end. That’s a puzzle drive. It’s what accountsfor my wanting to decipher Mayan hieroglyphics, for trying to open safes” (Feynman 21).The way Feynman ran his life is a model for the way people should strive to run theirs. Never giving up. Unless you have to. But trying really hard and going to the utmostJeremy Keeshin 2
 
lengths to avoid doing so. This amazing “puzzle drive” of his was what led to himwinning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. Not that he really cared that he won it, because he didn’t. He looked at it as more of a burden at first, but then grew to realizethat it wasn’t as negative as it was positive. The problem that got him started on his roadto the Nobel Prize was rather unexpected. He was in a cafeteria and saw plate wobblingin the air and noticed the rotations were odd. He ended up finding out somethingrevolutionary about the relationship between light and matter (Goodstein). When asked by a colleague Hans Bethe why he was figuring out these odd equations, Feynmanreplied with the equivalent of ‘no reason.’ “There’s no importance whatsoever. I’m justdoing it for the fun of it” (Feynman 174). This plate question led to a number of diagramsand equations that completely reformatted quantum mechanics (Goodstein). If anyonecared. And evidently some did.Feynman’s continual curiosity led him to ask the great gambler Nick the Greek about his mysterious ways on how he won. He did this because clearly it is commonknowledge that the odds are against one in a gambling match. Upon receiving the answer he realized the greatness of his fascinating ways and legitimized his questioning bystating, “I have to understand the world you see” (Feynman 231). If he didn’t understandthe world, he was very close to it. But not as close as Icarus. (Don’t worry or fret; it is notnecessary to understand that joke.)Richard Feynman was equipped with a “different box of tools” that was beneficialwhen solving problems. (Feynman 110). If there was a problem Feynman could pick anew angle to view it at to make the answer materialize more simply. Students in hislecture commented on how “part of Feynman’s greatness as a teacher [was] making aJeremy Keeshin 3

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