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Richard Feynman Ek Herhunnery Vyaktimatva by Sudha Risbood

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Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! is a witty and funny self-portrait of the famous theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. The book is a transcription of several taped conversations that the physicist had with a friend. Ralph Leighton. The text has been changed very mildly when compared to the spoken words in the tapes and so, it has a fast and crisp style. Richard Feynman was a multifaceted personality who did not limit his interest to just physics. He was curious about everything and experimented with many things to test his limits and discover new talents within himself. Feynman was a practical joker who learnt safe-cracking for fun. He could paint and was a good drummer too. The book is a collection of funny anecdotes. One interesting anecdote shares the story of how he was rejected by the draft board because he was thought to be mentally unstable. The reason was the answer he gave to the question, ‘Do you hear voices in your head?’. He answered in the affirmative and then went on to describe why he found the phenomenon interesting. Feynman said that whenever he fell asleep or was just waking up, he would have imaginary conversations with his foreign colleagues. In these fictional conversations inside his head, he was able to perfectly mimic each person’s accent, but he could not do this when he was speaking while awake. He was curious about how one part of his brain had succeeded in capturing these accents, but the part that was responsible for actual speech could not do so. There are many such hilarious episodes from his life, but through it all, Feynman’s true personality comes through as an iconoclast and skeptic who never accepted anything with even proven theories without testing them once himself. He had a passion for teaching and could simplify the explanations of the most difficult concepts to make them easily understandable to any type of audience. Feynman was firmly opposed to education systems that promoted learning by rote without understanding the concepts.

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