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Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life
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Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,504 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
As a young physicist, Leonard Mlodinow looked for guidance from his mentor, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Drawing on transcripts from their meetings during their time together at Cal Tech, Mlodinow shares Feynman's provocative thoughts and observations. At once a moving portrait of a friendship and an affecting account of Feynman's final, creative year ...more
Audio Cassette, unabridged, 4 pages
Published 2003 by Books on Tape
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Sep 25, 2009 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 04, 2015 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
Feb 09, 2012 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
Srajal Nayak
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't popular science. It isn't Feynman's biography either. In parts, it is both as Mlodinow recounts his fears and anxiety as a newly recruited faculty at Caltech, and how his interactions with Feynman helped him in gaining some perspective. Some of the anecdotes are amusing and heartwarming. Mlodinow does succeed in providing some insights about Feynman as a person too. It is a charming little book that I would especially recommend to all (to-be) grad students who are inevitably goin ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
This book is more a snapshot of life at Caltech, not boring, but not great either. The Feynman-Murray dynamics are some of the best parts of the book. Feynman remains intriguing as ever and some of his anecdotes are worth the time invested. The one that I was happy to discover goes like this:

The writer, Leonard Mlodinow, is confused about the problem he is working on. His research in string theory is hardly progressing further and a lot of his fellow researchers, including Feynman, remain skepti
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
Jun 21, 2011 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
May 03, 2017 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book seems to be more about the author than it is about Feynman, though there is quite a bit about their interaction. I read 37% and lost interest.
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for anyone who has ever been in a situation where they are expected to perform at a very high level and are plagued by doubts of their own competence. Leonard Mlodinow does a very good job describing exactly how that feels, and how he worked through his problems with "help" from some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. This isn't necessarily a book about Feynman, and people who are looking for a biography of Feynman's life would be well served elsewhere. Ho ...more
Jun 05, 2015 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
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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
More about Leonard Mlodinow...
“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.” 3 likes
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