Feynman, Richard

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© AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

During a glittering physics career, Richard Feynman did far more than create the diagrams that carry his name. In his 20s, he joined the fraternity of atomic scientists in the Manhattan Project who developed the atom bomb. After World War II, he played a major role in developing quantum electrodynamics, an achievement that won him the Nobel Prize in physics. He made key contributions to understanding the nature of superfluidity and to aspects of particle physics. He has also been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. Feynman's contributions went beyond physics. As a member of the panel that investigated the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, he unearthed serious misunderstandings of basic concepts by NASA's managers that helped to foment the disaster. He took great interest in biology and did much to popularize science through books and lectures. Eventually, Feynman became one of the world's most recognized scientists, and is considered the best expositor of complex scientific concepts of his generation. (Unit: 2)