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Some Time With Feynman (Penguin Press Science)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,990 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
Paperback, 171 pages
Published 2004 by Penguin Books Ltd
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 25, 2009 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, science, maths
I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but I don’t think I was expecting quite this. This one did have an almost Tuesdays with Morrie An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson feel about it (which is not exactly high praise) although I guess there is something about someone at the end of their life (sort of - or potentially) handing over hard won advice to someone in the next generation, even if that isn't ever quite what happens here.

I also think Mlodinow worked out early in the pi
Arghya Dutta
Jan 06, 2015 Arghya Dutta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know whether this book was marketed as a biography of Richard Feynman, as the blurb quote by Stephen Hawking may tell you, or just a popular science book. It is neither. And the resulting disappointments are reflected in my friend Trevor's review.

Instead this book is all about "a day in the life of" a physicist. It tells all the anxiety, jealousy, squabbling, prestige, grit, moments of truth and the joy of finding a consistent theory of a physicist.

After completing his PhD, Mlodinow was
Shashi Martynova
Обаятельный очерк периода невыдуманной жизни физика (популяризатора, энтузиаста всего интересного) Леонарда Млодинова во времена его знакомства с Ричардом Фейнманом. Переведя 2 книги Млодинова и прочитав как редактор еще одну, я к его стилю привыкла и он мне глубоко симпатичен, по массе причин. Это его хронологически первый текст для широкого читателя, и теперь я могу отследить развитие этого самого стиля от начала. Млодинов, как выясняется, со сравнительно младых ногтей был балагур и весельчак, ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Eppursimuov3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it has Feynman’s name on it, Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life is the story of Leonard Mlodinow rather than that of Richard Feynman himself. Not that it makes the book any less significant, as Mlodinow has his own story to tell. As a new post-doctorate researcher at Caltech, Mlodinow shares all the wonders, insecurities, and fears as he begins life as a physicist. Along the way, he reveals some of the more interesting encounters and conversations that he shar ...more
Jul 01, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physics, memoirs
This fun, little book is quite charming. Leonard Mlodinow was hired by the CalTech Physics Department. He did not have a clue as to what sort of theoretical research to begin. He talked to all of the faculty members, including Nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. He brought a tape recorder to many of his visits with Feynman, so now, 20 years later, we can read some of the transcripts. Feynman was a very interesting character, who hated psychology and philosophy. Yet, Mlodinow le ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Jorge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A medio camino entre una novela corta y un libro de física teórica, El arcoiris de Feynman es un relato autobiográfico de Mlodinow en el que cuenta sus primeros años posteriores a su doctorado en física. Luego de ganar una beca para investigar en el Caltech (una de las universidades más prestigiosas de Estados Unidos, con 20 premios nobeles en su historia), Mlodinow se encuentra con un bloqueo y se siente incapaz de cumplir con las expectativas puestas sobre su persona. No encuentra un tema de i ...more

Leonard Mlodinow [LM] es un físico teórico que en su tesis doctoral propuso un enfoque completamente novedoso que permitía resolver muchos problemas conocidos de la física de una manera mucho más simple. A grandes rasgos, su modelo suponía que el Universo tenía infinitas dimensiones espaciales, lo cual permitía, de alguna retorcida manera, simplificar todos los cálculos de los problemas más famosos de la mecánica cuántica. Esta tesis le consiguió el acceso a los mejores puestos de investigación

Eowyn Dean
Aug 23, 2015 Eowyn Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, funny, and occasionally deep snapshot of Feynman's impact on Leonard Mlodinow during the short time when they were Caltech office-neighbors. Far more psychological than Feynman would have approved! A great pick-me-up type of book for those who love physics; you won't learn any science from it, but perhaps you to will be thrilled to learn some tidbit -- like that Feynman also wondered about a world with two temporal dimensions instead of one.
Raunaq Ahmed
Dec 25, 2011 Raunaq Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely a joy to read! A very well written book, and has got a nice charm to it. There have been a lot of books on Feynman(the brilliant physicist) and his science, but none like this. It gives a unique glimpse into the wonderful man's life and science.

In particular, the author recollects his time with Feynman who at the time was in the final stages of his cancer. Even then, Feynman was so warm and full of life. There is a lot a physicist can learn from this book. A general audience will als
Feb 12, 2016 Ypres rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, science
I started this book because I needed motivation. Last year, I started the physics career, and my results were the opposite of what I expected. Now im facing the special exams session (redoing the exams) in almost all the subjects. I was facing a crisis. Why I am here? I'm smart enough to study this career? I'm glad to say that there is much that I have encountered. Every Feynman's lesson, even if i'm agree or not with many of his own ideas, contains the wisdom of a man who loves life,but knows t ...more
NC Weil
Apr 22, 2016 NC Weil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Feynman’s Rainbow by Leonard Mlodinow
Reviewed by NC Weil

The author, a freshly-minted young Ph.D. physicist, was offered a position on California Institute of Technology’s faculty in 1981. At that time, the Caltech physics department boasted two Nobel Prize winners: Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. These two were as opposite in temperament and approach as two titans of subatomic physics could be, and Mlodinow’s office location on the same hall gave him access to both.
But it is Feynman he fo
Nov 07, 2015 Venky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliocase
When Leonard Mlodinow is offered a postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology ("Caltech"), he is besides himself with ecstasy. However the enthusiasm swiftly wanes out as the young student is racked by feelings of insecurity and plagued by the fear of failure. Caltech after all was the Institute, whose hallowed portals lent hospitality to twenty Nobel Laureates. When Mlodinow is at the nadir of his doubtful professional existence, he realizes, by chance, that his office is ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Rama rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Walking with a giant

Caltech is the home of some of the best minds in physics. Most notable physicists on its faculty included Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann; both are Nobel laureates. The author narrates in simple words his casual interactions with Richard Feynman when he (author) was a freshman-faculty member at the physics department. Feeling unsettled in the world of giants, he looks for guidance and direction to establish his career, and in the process learns some basic lessons about b
Shweta Ramdas
May 17, 2016 Shweta Ramdas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
What goes on inside the mind of a genius? Are they just wired differently? And how do we mortals learn from them?

This book is an intriguing series of conversations between Feynman and Leonard Mlodinow, then a new faculty member at Caltech who finds himself having a dry spell in research (oh hello, imposter syndrome!), and given an office in the same hallway as Feynman. Mlodinow uses his conversations with Feynman to guide his path through physics, and along the way discovers what lies behind Fe
Apr 16, 2016 Roy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, sociology
An interesting account by Leonard Mlodinow's coming of age as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech where he was situated between Murray Gellman and Richard Feynman.
Most of it deals with his personal search for his direction in life and a feeling of inadequacy being in such rarified company. His interactions with Feynman act as guideposts towards finding his future path.
This is a short and easily read book. I'm not sure I learned anything new about Feynman, someone I have read a lot about, but the
Jul 28, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Give me physics book for the lay person and I'm all over it. Throw a little philosophy in to boot, and I'll consider it an enjoyable read. A short sweet book that shows the humanity of one of our greatest physicists. Dug it.
Oct 08, 2012 Adarsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Often moving, often funny, always relatable. Would recommend to other people, especially theoretical physicists at the beginning of their careers. Non-physicists will also be able to appreciate it, though.
Aug 15, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Not too heavy into physics. More about the personality of Feynman as seen through the author's eyes. Author was an up and coming physicist for whom Feynman was an occasional mentor.
Aug 03, 2014 Ayesha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read. Not as up-close and personal about Feynman as I thought it would be initially, but it gives a good glimpse of what the man was like to his colleagues and those around him. What I like about the book is the fact that Mlodinov doesn't make Feynman out to be some kind of God, but showcases him as an annoying hall-mate sometimes. I think I'm giving it one star less from perfect possibly because I wanted to know more about Feynman, and I wasn't given that information. Otherwi ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Philipp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, physics
This one finds me at exactly the right time as an early career researcher supposed to find his own niche.

This book is about Mlodinow starting out at Caltech, with a very good PhD thesis that made some waves in the physics community, but also with a serious case of impostor's syndrome. On his floor, just two doors down, is a dying Feynman, not far from that, Murray Gell-Mann's office - the relationship between both as well as their relative outlook on life is the undercurrent of this book, with a
Jul 26, 2011 Brandie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One can never tire of reading about Dr. Feynman and his insights into How We Do Physics. How Feynman did physics is so different from how most people do physics, and reading about it makes me wish for a way to jump into his mind and watch the way he thought about things from the inside out.

The narrator of the book, Dr. Mlodinow, was a young physicist when Feynman was nearing what was (sadly) to be the end of his career. While I read, I was partly envious of Mlodinow's opportunities to pester Fe
Leonard Mlodinow's charming little book tells the story of his friendship with one of the giants of 20th century physics, the legendary Richard Feynman. Famed as both a brilliant thinker and a colorful character who marched to his own drummer, Feynman was terminally ill with cancer and near the end of his career when Mlodinow met him. At the time,Mlodinow was a junior faculty member unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, and doubtful that he could make it in physics despite having authore ...more
In 1981, Leonard Mlodinow, a recent grad with a doctorate in physics, landed a faculty position at Caltech - and immediately began to doubt whether or not he was worthy of it. To his good fortune, not one but two Nobel laureates were housed on the same floor (Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann), and he sought their counsel. Feynman proved the more accessible, and their dialogues form the basis for this book.

Unfortunately, there is very little of Feynman to be found. From the technical perspect
David Glad
Nice relatively short (audio)book of the author's experiences of coming to CalTech as a PhD student after getting his masters at Berkeley and his encounters with Feynman and other influences during his time there. Gave surprising insight into how politics worked at CalTech, such as their proud boast of having 19 Nobel Laureates to MIT's 20 (emphasizing the latter school being five times the size) when he first arrived (it would be tied shortly after). Another amusing passage was how when John Sc ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of "Tuesdays with Morrie" it's "Tuesdays with Feynman"...OK, not completely, but kinda. Mlodinow was a first year physics prof at CalTech, searching for some answers re: physics and life. Who better to turn to than physics legend Ricard Feynman?

I've read several of Feynman's books and have enjoyed their blend of personality and science. Mlodinow creates the same blend, just it's not 100% his personality carrying the Feynman's books, it's Feynman's personality that sells this
Mar 12, 2010 Sun rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookaweek2010
This isn't really about Richard Feynman, renowned physicist. It's about Leonard Mlodinow, post-doctoral researcher. I admit it was the title's reference to Feynman that got my attention but it was Mlodinow's story of his experience as a new Caltech research fellow that makes this a great read. In 1973, Mlodinow arrives in Pasadena and finds to his amazement that he can work on whatever physics problem he wants. He has no clue what that is, so spends some time trying to get to know the rest of th ...more
Jun 24, 2008 Jared rated it it was ok
This book is a quick beach book. It isn't bad, but it isn't particularly memorable either. Also, the book is equal parts about Feynman, Mlodinow and another physicist Murray Gell-Mann, so the title is a bit misleading.
It is written in a near non-fiction format that runs smoothly and is very clear and concise, when it is not talking about physics.
It is apparent that the author tries to dumb down the physics a bit to reach a wider audience, but then it just digresses into a three way conversation
Mar 04, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
MichMich was right. This is a cute little book, good for an evening's read. It sort of made me nostalgic about Tech. =P Anyway, it really brings theoretical physics down to the layman without making the reader feel dumb. And it doesn't go on and on about physics, instead scattering it here and there between anecdotes about Feynman and passages of the author's own discoveries both in physics and just life in general. The subtitle really says it all: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life.
John Kowalczyk
May 07, 2016 John Kowalczyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great personal narrative of Mlodinow's transition into a more "mature" physicist and individual during his first years at Caltech. I found the anecdotes recounting conversations with Feynman very interesting, and the ongoing interaction between the two lead Mlodinow to personal insights that we can all relate to. It's a quick read that is rich with that energy that comes from someone sharing sincere, raw material of their life.
Steven P.R.
Jun 17, 2014 Steven P.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feynman's Rainbow is about Leonard Mlodinow's experience meeting with and talking with Richard Feynman. It is an autobiographical account and I found the conversations between them fascinating as they discuss science amongst other things. One particular conversation that was interesting was when Feynman recounted his experience in high school when he invented the half derivative in Calculus.

It was an enjoyable read.
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Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author.

Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1959, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald death camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa, Poland. As a child, Mlodinow was interested in both mathematics and chemistry, and while in high schoo
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“You’re wasting your time,” he said. “You don’t learn how to discover things by reading books on it. And psychology is a bunch of bullshit.” 0 likes
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