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 Richard Phillips Feynman

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Richard Phillips Feynman

Scientist. Renowned Mathematician, Physicist, author and lecturer, and winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, he is remembered as one of the most celebrated and revered scientists of modern times. Born in New York City, his father had emigrated from Minsk, Belarus, at age 5, and his mother's family had emigrated from Poland. While business provided the family with a home and food, it was science that most interested his father, and he shared this interest with his son. By the time Richard graduated from Far Rockaway High School in June 1935, he had clearly established himself as a mathematical genius, and he was quickly accepted at MIT. Obtaining his BS degree in Physics in 1939, he originally had started in Mathematics, but changed majors when he felt that what was lacking in math was its application to real world problems. He began with a graduate level course in Theoretical Physics, and realizing that there was no course in Quantum Mechanics, he studied that field on his own, reading every book he could find, and writing articles on space-time electrical phenomena. Following graduation, he studied Quantum Physics at Princeton University, studying under such physics greats as Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli and John von Neumann. He received his doctorate in Physics from Princeton in 1942. Fearing that Adolph Hitler would develop an atomic bomb before the allies, he joined the Manhattan Project, and was quickly selected to head its theoretical division. After the war, Feynman was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cornell University, and in 1950 transferred to California Institute of Technology (Cal tech). Developing his interest in Quantum Mechanics, he developed diagrams using graphical analogues of the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of interacting particles. For this he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, which he shared with American Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga of Japan. In early 1979, his health deteriorated, and stomach cancer was detected. After it was successfully operated upon, he became a lecturer and wrote several books. In 1986, he was made a member of the committee to investigate the cause of the space shuttle "USS Challenger" explosion, a task made more difficult by the return of his cancer, this time to his abdomen, and he discovered the fatal flaw of the Challenger O-Rings. He died in early 1988 in Los Angeles, California. Perhaps his most important contribution was his insistence to his students that science must match reality.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2562
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Phillips Feynman (11 May 1918–15 Feb 1988), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2562, citing Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, Altadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .