February 15, 1988 - Death of Richard Feynman, a unique genius

Richard Phillips Feynman (New York, 1918 - Los Angeles, 1988)

Feynman was a unique genius unable to sit still when he discovered that he did not understand something, he needed to understand even the smallest details of a problem in order to solve it. He had a great ability to see the simplicity of apparently complicated things, a fabulous ability to appreciate the obvious. Therefore, we are not surprised that Feynman was a great lover of nature. He liked to know how and why things happened and he found in the essence of nature a beauty and a pleasure that was reserved for those who made the effort to understand its mechanisms.

His skepticism accompanied him throughout his life. They say that, as a child, he was relieved to discover that Santa Claus was not real, since the truth was much easier to understand when it came to explaining why so many children received gifts. The anecdote lived in 1975 is also curious, when he managed to meet with Uri Geller, a person who was supposed to be capable of bending spoons with his mind. Feynman needed a rational explanation for this "paranormal" fact. However, the meeting was a resounding failure for Geller, who failed to show his extraordinary abilities.

Feynman studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), continuing his career at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1942, with work on electromagnetic waves supervised by the American nuclear physicist John Wheeler. Among the audience were scientists such as Einstein, Pauli and von Neumann.

In 1945 he moved to Cornell University as a professor of theoretical physics. Later, after his period as a visiting professor at the University of Rio de Janeiro, he was professor of theoretical physics at the Californian Institute of Technology, focusing his research on quantum electrodynamics, a discipline in which he developed the theory of quantum field. He invented a simple and widely used representation, the so-called Feynman diagrams. In 1965 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Shin-Ichio Tomonaga and Julian Schwinger.

Few people in history have been Nobel Prize for their achievements in theoretical physics, have commissioned a nude bullfighter, have broken army safes, have explained physics to Einstein, have touched the frigideira in Brazil and have been declared unfit for military service for mental incapacity. All who knew him remember his simplicity, honesty, sense of humor and wit.

"God was invented to be able to explain the mysteries. God is always invented to explain those things that you cannot understand"

Richard Feynman
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