Richard Feynman was a Nobel prize winning science professor. He was an eminent physicist and an excellent communicator, able to express his thoughts and opinions to the masses with ease. He was born in a New York Suburb known as Far Rockway in the May of 1918. Even before he was born his father declared that his son should become a scientist. At ten years old he had his own home laboratory, at fourteen he was paying his sister to be his lab assistant. At fifteen years of age he had taught himself calculus, advanced algebra, analytic geometry and trigonometry. He gained a perfect score in both his physics and his math exams and graduated from Princeton. His incredible talents lead to his recruitment on the Manhattan Project, aimed at creating the first atomic bomb. However he didn’t truly fit in with the rigid structure and secrecy that surrounded the project. He challenged security, picked locks and illustrated the shortfalls in the base security systems. He exclaimed that he could not leave a secret unexplored he had to understand everything about it.
Feynman’s wife passed away in the summer of 1945 after being confined to a sanatorium with TB. Just a few short weeks later the atom bomb that he’d had a hand in designing was detonated in Japan laying, he felt, the deaths of 80,000 innocent people at his feet. This was the turning point that made him start questioning the value of science. It took a long time before the science spark would be reignited. But when it was, he found that he could answer questions which at one time had seen him stumped. He described it as being as if a cork had been popped and the information just flowed. This incredible level of insight and intuition led him to develop a whole new branch of mathematics. His new insight into discovering one of the basic laws of nature earned him a share in the Nobel Prize, but rather than seeing this as the ultimate achievement he moved on to other things, other sciences and made them his own too.
Richard Feynman could even be considered as the father of nanotechnology, something he started to develop after studying ants. Yet when he gave a lecture it was as though he was living and breathing his science in such a way that it was passed to his students with the ease of sharing a smile. Such was his ability to communicate he was asked to rewrite Caltech’s undergraduate physics course. During the late 1970’s he has diagnosed as having a large tumour in his abdomen, something again that he tried to make interesting and explorable. He underwent a series of operations in order that he could keep working.
He was also the person responsible for discovering the reasons behind the Challenger disaster, his insight and intuition leading him to find the tiny flaw that had brought down the space shuttle just 73 seconds after takeoff. This was to be his last project. Feynman passed away in 1988.