Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
|Author||Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman|
|Genre||Autobiography, Biography, Non-fiction|
|Publisher||W.W. Norton (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback) also Audio book|
|Pages||350 p. (US hardcover edition) & 322 p. (US paperback edition)|
|ISBN||0-393-01921-7 (US hardcover edition)|
|530/.092/4 B 19|
|LC Class||QC16.F49 A37 1985|
|Followed by||What Do You Care What Other People Think?|
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, covers a variety of instances in Feynman's life. The anecdotes in the book are based on recorded audio conversations that Feynman had with his close friend and drumming partner Ralph Leighton.
The book has many stories which are lighthearted in tone, such as his fascination with safe-cracking, studying various languages, participating with groups of people who share different interests (such as biology or philosophy), and ventures into art and samba music.
Other stories cover more serious material, including his work on the Manhattan Project (during which his first wife Arline Greenbaum died of tuberculosis) and his critique of the science education system in Brazil. The section "Monster Minds" describes his slightly nervous presentation of his graduate work on the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory in front of Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli, Henry Norris Russell, John von Neumann, and other major scientists of the time.
The anecdotes were edited from taped conversations that Feynman had with his close friend and drumming partner Ralph Leighton. Its surprise success led to a sequel, What Do You Care What Other People Think?, also taken from Leighton's taped conversations. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! became a national bestseller.
The closing chapter, "Cargo Cult Science," is adapted from the address that Feynman gave during the 1974 commencement exercises at the California Institute of Technology.
The book's title is taken from a comment made by a woman at Princeton University after Feynman asked for both cream and lemon in his tea, not being familiar with the proper etiquette.
Murray Gell-Mann was upset by Feynman's account in the book of the weak interaction work, and threatened to sue, resulting in a correction being inserted in later editions.
Feynman was criticized for a chapter titled "You Just Ask Them?" where he recounts picking up a woman by deliberately insulting her with a misogynistic term after the woman seemingly plays him for free food. Feynman states at the end of the chapter that this behavior was not typical.
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character, Richard Feynman, Ralph Leighton (contributor), Edward Hutchings (editor), 1985, W. W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-01921-7, 1997 paperback: ISBN 0-393-31604-1, 2002 Blackstone Audiobooks unabridged audio cassette: ISBN 0-7861-2218-8
- ^ "Overview of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!". wwnorton.com. W. W. Norton & Company. Archived from the original on 2019-11-15.
- ^ Feynman, Richard (1974). "Cargo Cult Science" (PDF). Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-12-01. Retrieved 2021-02-19 – via calteches.library.caltech.edu.
- ^ Feynman, Richard (1997). Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-393-31604-9.
- ^ Johnson, George (July 2001). "The Jaguar and the Fox". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
- ^ Gleick 1992, pp. 287–291, 341–345.
- ^ Urry, Meg (August 9, 2014). "Male scientists, don't harass young female colleagues". CNN.com. Archived from the original on June 15, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
- ^ Koren, Marina (October 24, 2018). "Lawrence Krauss and the Legacy of Harassment in Science". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 30, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
- Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0679747044.
- Quotations related to Richard Feynman at Wikiquote