Dr. Christopher Rhea
- Associate Professor, 2016
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
by Richard P Feynman; Ralph Leighton; Edward Hutchings
Curiosity, creativity, and reflection, in my humble opinion, are three of the most important things professors can instill in our students. Dr. Feynman epitomized all three in the way he lived his life and went about this thing we call science. He became famous when he testified in front of Congress, showing them in a simple demonstration why the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. However, his life before that was full of adventure and inquisitiveness. He worked on the Manhattan Project which led to the development of the atomic bomb for World War II. Although the environment was stressful, Dr. Feynman also maintained a sense of humor while working on the bomb, often playing pranks on his fellow colleagues. Dr. Feynman then entered academia after turning down an offer from the Institute of Advanced Study, which employed the likes of Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, and John von Neumann at the time. Dr. Feynman elected to take an academic position so he could work with students, which he considered the lifeblood of his curiosity. Known as the "Great Explainer", his ability to describe extremely complex theoretical physics to practically any audience was unparalleled and his "Feynman Lectures" are legendary. Dr. Feynman was a connoisseur of life, incorporating passion for curiosity, creativity, and reflection every step of the way. His work, and more importantly his approach to life, have inspired me to no end.
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