Richard Phillips Feynman (born 11 May 1918, New York City, U.S. – died 15 February 1988, Los Angeles, California, U.S.) was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as his work in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin'ichirō Tomonaga. Top 10 Famous Richard Feynman Quotes Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion. Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible. Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it. Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don’t think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. 18 Richard Feynman Quotes About Physics, Science and Learning Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation. Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics. We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. Physics has a history of synthesizing many phenomena into a few theories. I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding, they learn by some other way — by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile! If you can’t explain something to a first year student, then you haven’t really understood. Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong. If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize. Investigating the forces that hold the nuclear particles together was a long task. I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn’t any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work.
Richard Feynman Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The ideas associated with the problems of the development of science, as far as I can see by looking around me, are not of the kind that everyone appreciates. 17 Richard Feynman Quotes About Life and Nature See that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. As usual, nature’s imagination far surpasses our own, as we have seen from the other theories which are subtle and deep. I’m smart enough to know that I’m dumb. I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there. Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there. I thought one should have the attitude of ‘What do you care what other people think!’. The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting: the part that doesn’t go according to what you expected. If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part. The most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth. People often think I’m a faker, but I’m usually honest, in a certain way – in such a way that often nobody believes me! All the time you’re saying to yourself, ‘I could do that, but I won’t’, — which is just another way of saying that you can’t. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing. In this age of specialization men who thoroughly know one field are often incompetent to discuss another. You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing. There is always another way to say the same thing that doesn’t look at all like the way you said it before. I don’t know what the reason for this is. I think it is somehow a representation of the simplicity of nature.