Steve Stanton's Reviews > Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman
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's review
May 15, 2012

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This book is a collection of colorful vignettes from the Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist. These disjointed first-person narratives are not written with any literary sophistication and seem somewhat dated and naive now, but there is enough science to make it a worthwhile read. Feynman’s character as a brash and adventurous prankster comes through well, and his brilliant mind as a practical mathematician is surely notable. He describes his visits to strip clubs and Vegas night life, his experiments with hallucinations, his love for drawing nude women, learning a new language, safecracking atomic secrets in Los Alamos, playing drums in a samba band in Brazil, translating the Mayan codex and working on the Bomb that changed the world. At the first Trinity test, while his colleagues cowered on the floor or watched behind dark goggles at the twenty-mile observation perimeter, Feynman sat behind a truck windshield to shield himself from the ultraviolet radiation and was the only human to witness the first atomic explosion with naked eyes: “white light changing into yellow and then into orange.”

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