Monday, May 15, 2006

Pleasure of finding things out

Many readers almost certainly have 50 minutes to watch this

The video is very insightful and entertaining although most of us know at least bits and pieces of it. He talks about the beauty of a flower - how physics only adds, not subtracts. There are many stories about his father - how he taught him the right philosophy but could not quite follow the calculus. Feynman also talks about his moral reasons to develop the bomb - the Germans were dangerous. After the war, he really thought that the world would be destroyed soon, so it was silly to build bridges. Then he explains why honors suck and how important for him it was to be actively irresponsible and sure that other people's expectations are their fault.

There is some discussion about QED and QCD, and his teaching of his son and daughter. The spatial and creative methods that worked for the son didn't work at all for the daughter who preferred the text of the book to be repeated. He also explains that because of the success of science, there is a lot of pseudoscience around - for example, social science and food science.

These people could know what they're doing but it's very unlikely: Feynman knows how difficult it is to observe the experiments properly and how easy it is to fool yourself. Finally, he says that we should try to find more about Nature instead of imposing our philosophical prejudices on Her. That explains why he had problems with some stories underlying religion. Feynman also knows how to live without knowing the answers; he is not frightened by ignorance.

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