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# The Character of Physical Law

by
Richard Feynman,
James Gleick (Goodreads Author)

In the Messenger Lectures, originally delivered at Cornell University & recorded for TV by the BBC, Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws & gathers their common features into one broad principle of invariance. He maintains at the outset that the importance of a physical law isn't "how clever we are to have found it out, but...how clever nature is to
...more

Hardcover, 192 pages

Published
November 8th 1994
by Modern Library
(first published 1964)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)

Jun 01, 2013
Manny
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
People who want to understand what physics is really about

As I progressed through this excellent little book, I began to feel that the style was somehow familiar from another genre. Mozart? Perhaps e.e. cummings? But my subconscious, while granting that I wasn't totally off-base, informed me that it had a chess analogy in mind.

I had never thought about it before, but I am suddenly rather taken with the idea of comparing great physics writers with great chess players. Penrose reminds me of Tal, trusting his astonishing visual intuition to steer him thr ...more

I had never thought about it before, but I am suddenly rather taken with the idea of comparing great physics writers with great chess players. Penrose reminds me of Tal, trusting his astonishing visual intuition to steer him thr ...more

The title tells one enough about the contents; if you have any interest in the topic you should read this book. It is almost but not completely non-mathematical. If you can cope with the algebra contained ...more

Jun 19, 2015
Lotz
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
the-ignorance-of-experts

It is impossible, by the way, by picking one of anything to pick one that is not atypical in some sense. That is the wonder of the world.

I would probably be giving this little book five stars if I wasn't already familiar with much of it from reading Feynman's

*Six Easy Pieces*and

*Six Not-So-Easy Pieces*. There's a good deal of overlap in the material, and Feynman even uses several of the same examples and analogies. It seems he was so often explaining these things that he developed a method. I m ...more

“..Olağanüstü.. bu kitapta büyük bir fizikçinin ...more

What the great physicist sets out to do is to explore the nature of physical laws. Where this works best (and he would probably have hated th ...more

*thinks*about that approach. In these lectures, there's a balance between musings about physics and musings about how people think (about p ...more

If you are not a physicist, this book will be a very easy and simple way for you to understand what physics is, and how we study it. On the other hand, if you are a physicist, this book will provide you with an extremely beautiful and concise way to look at the world and think about the major concepts of physics.

This is, rightfull ...more

*O povaze přírodních zákonů.*Aspoň takhle jsem tu historku slyšel… Wow! —

*The Character of Physical Law*je knižní kompilace Feynmanových přednášek z roku 1964, v nichž do té doby nevídaným způsobem vystihl podstatu vědecké metody v celé její šíři a složitosti. Pro mnoho vědců nás ...more

At no point does Feynman ...more

His down to earth style in exploring questions such as "what is gravity" and why mathematical formulae that can describe, but not explain it, is exhilarating, as are passages on the nature of time and q ...more

What in the hell does that mean? Velocity is direction + speed, right? So, I understand that a change in di ...more

This book is clearly written for readers without scientific background. Interesting is the topics he chooses for his "lectures" as being the main mega-themes in physics. I would like to read the same lectures adjusted for an audience with undergraduate science and math background.

Still a clear recommended read for ...more

I think I may not have gotten as much rom this book as I read it with a reasonable amount of time between chapters (a couple of chapters a weekend). Reading it more closely space ...more

The book acts as a good introduction into what makes up the laws of physics and what physicists actually do to discover them. Many might be shocked to discover that instead of methodical and step-by-step research, laws may be 'guessed' via intuition but Feynman emphasises ...more

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Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was a joint recipient of the Nobel Pr
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“Mathematics is a language plus reasoning; it is like a language plus logic. Mathematics is a tool for reasoning.”
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57 likes

“... it is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way that people can feel, without their having some deep understanding of mathematics. I am sorry, but this seems to be the case.”
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19 likes

More quotes…
Surely You're Jokingis a fantastic collection of anecdotes, hardly any of which require understanding of physics. Unreservedly recommended.Jan 04, 2015 01:24PM

Ivonne wrote: "Manny wrote: "I'm happy if my far-fetched analogies amused people. And everyone should read at least one Feynman, if only to discover w...moreJan 04, 2015 05:46PM