I did not care for Phebe Mitchell Kendall's commentary, but the letters and journals of Maria Mitchell were wonderful to read. I was so sorry to reach...moreI did not care for Phebe Mitchell Kendall's commentary, but the letters and journals of Maria Mitchell were wonderful to read. I was so sorry to reach the end of this book; I could have gone on reading Ms. Mitchell's words about astronomy, science, the education of women, and women's rights, forever. (less)
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...moreOne 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 Feynman in his office at Cal-Tech, partly excited by Mlodinow's self-discoveries in his first year at Cal-Tech, and partly empathetic with Feynman over the annoyance of young, brash physicists barging into his office to interrupt the work. That's what makes me feel this is an excellent book - when an author creates several conflicting but true and reasonable feelings for a reader in one work, I feel the author has done a good job.
This book is an easy, quick read, and if you've ever wondered about what, exactly, physicists DO, how they go about their work and make these ground-breaking discoveries, this is a fair introduction to the life of a physicist/scientist. As a would-be scientist myself, I appreciated it, but I think even someone who does not want to be a scientist would enjoy this exploration of the culture of physicists.
I also appreciate that Mlodinow etches out that notion that scientists are all unimaginative logic with no creativity - you cannot be a scientist without imagination and creativity! Scientists have to use intuition for discovery, and rigorous logic for confirmation, but to discover anything at all, a scientist must first approach problems creatively, imaginatively. The book has some excellent passages illustrating the hows and whys of these facts.
To sum up, Feynman's Rainbow is an excellent book about physics, about scientists, about academic culture, and most especially about Feynman himself.(less)