Feynman
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Feynman

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,036 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Richard Feynman: physicist . . . Nobel winner . . . bestselling author . . . safe-cracker. In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics main...more
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by First Second (first published 2011)
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Caris
I firmly believe that the majority of the teachers, administrators, nurses, janitors, and clerical staff at my high school were in on a huge joke at my expense. How else does one explain the poor advising, the lack of college preparation, and the blatantly untrue facts I that were imparted unto me on a daily basis. If there was no joke, I am very sad in a Kurt Vonnegut sort of way, for at least there would have been something funny to look back at.

“Ha!” I’d say, “Perhaps I emerged from high sch...more
Brendon Schrodinger
I have been slow to discover the delights of Feynman, but I recognise a similar thinker, albeit a much, much brighter man. I love his famous BBC interview that was towards the end of his life and I did greatly enjoy his autobiographical sections in "Six Easy Pieces".

A graphic novel adaptation of Feynam's life works very well. While it does not present any new material, it takes the best snippets from all different sources and makes his life come alive with wonderful and simple illustration. Anot...more
Tim
I really enjoyed this graphic biography. I found it much more engaging (perhaps because the subject was more engaging) than Logicomics, to which it will likely be compared. Unlike Nat Torkington, I loved the last part of the book, which took a stab at explaining Quantum Electrodynamics (for which Feynman shared a Nobel prize.)

It was also lovely to see people I know appear in the book, including Freeman Dyson (who explained Feynman's idiosyncratic thinking to the rest of the physics world in a wa...more
Robert
A comic-book biography of Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman?! It's an idea quirky enough to have pleased the man himself, I think. It's a great way of finding out about a great scientist without risk of ever getting bored and would make a fine first book about the man for someone unfamiliar with his life and work.

For Feynman fanatics, and I suppose I must be one, it offers less; most of the material here is taken from the widely available published books by and about the...more
Seth Hahne
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick

Somewhere around two years ago, I ran into a video clip in which a brilliant physicist almost-patiently explained to an interviewer why he would not be explaining how magnets work to the man. Indeed, why he couldn't explain the phenomenon or any of the laws that govern it. The physicist was Richard Feynman and his answer was essentially that the question would demand an infinitely regressing series of Why questions, each one more complex and specialized than the last. Or in short, the interviewe...more
Sesana
A graphic novel biography. There are a few of these floating around now, and I think it's a format that's best suited for scientists and artists. People whose lives will necessarily have graphic elements. Now, I knew very little about Feynman going into this book, and it would probably work best for people who are similarly uninitiated. It seems like much of the content was taken from Feynman's more popular works, and so there will be little new here for people who have been reading about him fo...more
Dan
Anyone who knows anything about anything knows I'm a know-nothing when it comes to math and physics. This is probably the fault of the Arizona public school system. Despite this lack of knowledge I quite liked this graphic novel bio. With great illustrations and not too math heavy it reminded me a lot of Logicomix though I don't feel it was anywhere near as ambitious.

Hopefully these types of graphic novels keep getting released so there's a better chance of me becoming a know-something.
Josh
This completes my Jim O. catchup, having also recently read Primates and T-Minus. As usual, a five-star read. (You'd think I knew the author personally.) Recommended for anyone interested in anything.

My only complaint here is that it wasn't long enough--that's actually sort of the point, though. It's taken several books to document Feynman's life and Ottaviani does everything he can to capture his spirit without becoming excessively long. The medium and execution both work great. He's a ridiculo...more
Andy Shuping
Before I picked up this book I didn't really know who Richard Feynman was. I mean I heard the name, but it didn't really mean lot to me. And then...I picked up this book. And within 4 pages I was captivated by him and what he meant not only to our understanding of science, but our understanding of the world at large. I didn't even get 15 pages in the book and I started looking to see what other books my library owned about Feynman, just so that I could learn more about him. That's how well this...more
Chad
Too disjointed, showing bits and pieces of Feynman's life without much connecting it all together. The art didn't grab me either.

The book jacket claims Feynman was a lot of fun at parties, but that doesn't shine through much in the book itself. I didn't realize some of the the things he said were jokes until other characters laughed uproariously, and even then I still don't quite understand how some of them are jokes.

The lecture presented as Feynman's effort to make quantum electrodynamics und...more
Jennifer W
Good primer on an incredibly smart man. There were several times where the story jumped and I couldn't follow, and that's not to mention the math and science parts! I do have some background in calculus and physics, so I was mostly able to follow those sections, or at least follow it enough to keep going. I love how he insisted that it's OK to not get it and it's OK to question the results, because that's what this level of math and science is supposed to be! Pushing boundaries, thinking outside...more
Nick Kives
I don't think I can recommend this book enough for anyone really. If you like math, or physics, and of course Feynman at all, you should give it a read, but even without those interest, Feynman's life was a pretty interesting. From meeting Einstein as a graduate student to working on the Manhattan Project to winning a Nobel Prize in Physics, he always brought his weird sense of humor to it. For anyone who doesn't like math or physics, there is about 20 pages broken into two sections that are VER...more
Scott
Open a comic book and you step into a world of superheroes. In the late twentieth century, few cultural heroes were more super than Nobel Prize physicist-educator-safe cracker Richard Feynman. So what if he didn't don a cape, stop bullets with his bare hands, or wear his underpants outside his trousers: he revolutionized our understanding of how light works, helped build the first atomic bomb, solved the Challenger mystery, and played some pretty mean bongos. Most remarkably, though, he brought...more
Kirsten
A really engaging biography of such an interesting character. I could have done with more visualizations of the scientific principles he was talking about. At times I found it a little hard to grasp, but by the sounds of it the QED theory for which he won the Nobel Prize was particularly difficult to explain. However, it conveyed great enthusiasm for a scientific way of thinking and was very enjoyable.

One more small niggle was that the frame narrative didn't make very much sense. Feynman-as-narr...more
Melody
Huge Feynman fans like me won't find much new here- but there's so much worth revisiting that it's well worth picking up. I loved the stories, I loved the recreations, and I frankly loathed the illustrations. This loathing took away no little enjoyment for me, but since it's a book about RPF, well, I still loved it. 3.5
Jim
A brilliant book about a brilliant human being. I'm insanely jealous of the art--Leland Myrick's drawings are deceptively simple, done with an economy of line and an energy that makes them look like spontaneous sketches, but each one carries at least a thousand words-worth of storytelling, conveying a setting, a likeness, or a telling gesture without using a single line more than is absolutely necessary to do so. The line work is perfectly complemented by Hilary Sycamore's color work, an importa...more
Veronica Erb
What a fun, breezy introduction to the world of Feynman. I was impressed by the man and his perspectives on the world. He managed to always move forward, and make huge contributions to science and the world.

Favorite lessons from him in this book:
You have to force yourself to learn about the big picture of the world. (Why he went to Princeton, pg 39)
If you can focus on something that you're truly passionate about, sharing that thing is no longer scary. (His first lecture)
Big shots need something...more
Justin
I found the idea of a graphic novel biography of physicist Richard Feynman to be so quirky and interesting that I was fairly excited to get my hands on a copy. Feynman is a bit of a book searching for an audience, but it ultimately encompasses a fascinating man’s interesting life and complicated ideas in a fairly accessible way.

Ottaviani presents this biography as a memoir told by Feynman himself, drawn from various primary sources. The book begins with Feynman’s early life and first marriage, a...more
Aaron
Richard Feynman is one of the unsung heroes of physics. Few people, including myself before this reading, would have recognized his name, yet he worked on the Manhattan Project, won the Novel Prize in physics, was the first big-name physicist to teach freshman courses, and was part of the panel who identified the problem with the o-rings that led to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. In fact, he was the one who figured out it was the o-rings. With all of that said, why is he such an unknown...more
Sean Francisco Yau-Smith
I was excited really excited to see this book in the local Graphic Novel. I was a Feynman fan in college, and in particular liked his insistence that the test of true understanding of any topic was the ability to explain it simply. I also thought the graphic novel format would give light to explaining his ideas and thoughts. It's something Feynman himself explored, and didn't feel he succeeded in his own dialogues with artists. In fact, he even wanted an abstract drawing of sound emanating from...more
Angela Benedetti
This is an excellent showcase of parts of Feynman's life and work. What's here is great, the cartoon art worked well with Feynman's personality, and the book was an enjoyable read that I'll probably read again. My only complaint is that the different parts were too short. I've read a lot of other books about Feynman, and I recognized most of the stories. Things were compressed or cut off before the real ending, or what I thought of as the real ending to the incident or anecdote, and I constantly...more
Kathleen
An excellent biography of one of my favorite physicists. I appreciated the anecdotes and the art, but I thought the book really made the grade with the portion devoted to Alix Mautner and the QED lectures. Naturally comic art is an excellent means of conveying the explanatory diagrams which are very similar to what you would find in QED although more detailed and colorful. Furthermore, the poignant interplay of Feynman's friendship with Alix makes his desire to explain concepts of high physics s...more
Emilia P
So yes!
I was totally like NOPE I'm not gonna read this, another way too in-depth philosopher/science/etc comic and then Errol's friend Andy started talking about how much he loves Feynman's work and all his thoughts about Meaning and Rules and Life and stuff and anything that Andy recommends we basically will read, so I said ok I will go read the comic book.

Here are some great and rare things about this book. #1: Narrative flow! It was amazing -- how could a strange awkward physics dude's life p...more
Carrie
Apr 08, 2012 Carrie added it
Carrie Ackerson
Biography

Who says a scientist has to be stuffy? Ottaviani and Myrick present the life of physicist Richard Feynman in a colorful graphic novel format that Feynman himself surely would have loved. Full of humor and including safecracking, the Manhattan Project, the Challenger O-rings problem and of course the women Feynman adored, this work visually expresses Feynman’s tendency to think pictorially and in color. Recommended for the reader who might be put off by the weightier tomes...more
Annette
Listening to my dad's stories of eavesdropping Feynman's conversations about black holes at the Caltech canteen (where dad was studying at the time) gave me a general idea of the man's maverick spirit. This book, however, made me want to know much more about him -- and, perhaps, dig into some of the other, more theoretical books. My background in math is wobbly -- and physics, almost non-existent -- but one of Feynman's great gifts was plain-talking conceptual material.

The graphic novel format i...more
Rachel
I had high hopes for this graphic novel biography of Richard Feynman, but it mostly repeated information from his books in an inferior style. Feynman's genius was that he wrote in a kind of everyman style, even though he was a genius. For a book by another author to try to portray this kind of genuineness seems impossible.

It's not just that the graphic novel repeated information in other books in an inferior style, but it didn't fully explain incidents to the reader (like why the Challenger rub...more
Sonic
Stellar biography (comic/graphic novel) on one of the more interesting great minds! Ottaviani and Myrick did a phenomenal job talking science to regular folk, as well as making a fun readable book.
But the real magic was on top of doing all that, they really brought Feynman to LIFE!
Giving readers a real taste of this brilliant and eccentric man's character!
This is no small task for ANY subject, but a physicist????
Sure Feynman's over-the-top personality is almost bound to shine through any book ab...more
Greg Pettit
Richard Feynman was such a fascinating character and scientist that nearly any book about him is going to be worth the read. This particular work has the narrative of an autobiography in the style of a comic book. Both work well, but not as well as I had hoped.

The author chose anecdotes from many periods in Feynman's life and illustrated them in a simple, visual style. They fall in roughly chronological order and have a few connecting threads.

Most of the time, the artwork is unobtrusive, which a...more
Ryan Haupt
Overall it was inconsistent in tone and pacing. I get that life is like that too but ultimately I want a biography to make a life cohesive rather than just portray disparate potions of it in a staccato manner. And unfortunately the art just did nothing for me. After 272 pages I thought maybe I'd warm up to it but I felt like I was fighting against it rather than learning to love it. Ottaviani clearly has a deep love for Feynman, I just wish this had been a better conveyance of that passion.
Stephen
This attempt to bring sometimes enticing and sometimes reclusive/obsessive scientist and educator Feynman to life for a new generation, sadly, fails.

The main problem I have with this graphic novel is that its creators seem to not understand that education has changed 180-degrees since Feynman was making a name for himself as an innovative educator in the 1960s. Educators from elementary school to college are trying every possible combination of illustration, analogy, and alternative explanation...more
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2402
I've worked in news agencies and golf courses in the Chicagoland area, nuclear reactors in the U.S. and Japan, and libraries in Michigan. I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists. When I'm not doing those things, I'm spraining my ankles and flattening my feet by running on trails. Or I'm reading. I read a lot.
More about Jim Ottaviani...
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas T-Minus: The Race to the Moon Suspended In Language: Niels Bohr's Life, Discoveries, And The Century He Shaped Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love

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