cover image Richard Feynman: A Life in Science

Richard Feynman: A Life in Science

Mary Gribbin, John R. Gribbin. Dutton Books, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-525-94124-8

Much of the information in this latest offering in Dutton's Life in Science series is redundant of the famed scientist's own remembrances (Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman; What Do You Care What Other People Think?). Those unfamiliar with the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, however, should find this anecdote- and science-rich study an excellent introduction. Best known for his groundbreaking work in quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was revered as an exceptional educator, teaching at such famed posts as Cornell and Cal Tech. Unconventional by the standards of both academia and science, he was also an avid drummer and amateur artist. Feynman reveled in new challenges, disdained pomposity and was not above poking fun at himself or perpetrating a practical joke on others. Here, Feynman's life is followed from his Brooklyn childhood through his work in theoretical physics; his achievements in solving such concrete problems as the Challenger disaster are detailed as well. The Gribbins (In Search of Schrodinger's Cat and more than 40 other books) convey their material in a clear, well-organized fashion, with John Gribbin's background as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University seeming to add depth and historical perspective to the discussion of Feynman's scientific accomplishments, including the easily understood explanations of Feynman's theories of quantum physics. Drawings; photos not seen by PW. BOMC selection; Library of Science and Astronomy Book Club main selections. (July)