Friday, June 12, 2015

astro picture for the day / Richard Feynman video

Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory, VLT

Found this Richard Feynman video,

I can't help noting that I've never heard or/seen a great mathematician/scientists who was born from a previous great mathematician/scientist. In the case of Richard, his father wished to be great, but wasn't able to get into science; but, he was able to inspire his son, here, Richard Feynman.
I note for instance Albert Einstein and David Hilbert's sons.  They went crazy.  Albert's went into a psych ward.  Hilbert's thought god was talking to him and so on.  Carl Feynman grew up fine; but, never became great in any way. Leonard Euler had a bunch of kids; none of them did anything of note.
Seems that the environment a person grows up in, affects them differently than most others, and these influences don't seem to be the same for their children.
- Who's Richard Feynman?  Richard Feynman is considered one of the greatest scientists ever and of the 20th century. I've often felt that his personality is what makes him so famous, more than his accomplishments.  What did he solve? 
He solved, compared to what was there before, the renormalization problem. There was quantum mechanics before Richard.  Quantum Mechanics had in fact gone through several evolutions already by the time Richard Feynman could make any contribution. Bohr had combined Planck's quantum to solve the atom for the first time.  He had essentially derived the spectroscopic evidence of the atom. The quantum mechanics was then generalized by Heisenburg's "Uncertainty principle", and then Schroedinger combined De Broglie's ideas wavelengths and really Einstein's famous E=MC^2 equation. 
Then came Paul Dirac.  Paul combined special relativity with quantum mechanics.  He predicted anti-matter.  But, the theory predicted infinities.  This is where Richard Feynman came in.  There was also Schwinger, but physicists took to Richard's diagrammatic methods.
After Richard Feynman's diagrams, he didn't do much new science. Richard's claim to fame seems more to me about thinking of quantum computers and nanotechnology. Around 1959, just two years after Sputnik went up, he gave a speech, more for fun than anything else, about being able to manufacture anything atom by atom.
I've found almost all these geniuses are smart in some ways, but have bad attitudes in other ways.  In Richard Feynman's case, he had a bad attitude about history.  I've seen for instance John Stillwell, who has tried to right technical history of mathematics has bad attitudes about talking about the nature/philosophy of mathematics. I'm finding nanotechnologists have bad attitudes about, none other than rational philosophy!  God-Religious of course, usually, have bad attitudes about scientific knowledge, or not knowing - therefore, god must exist for them!

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