mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Tuva or Bust. (7)

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Myrick.

"How much did this cost?"
"Thirty seven million bucks."
"What, you don't trust me?"

-Feynman, on CERN's testing of his theory of charge renormalization.

If this is the kind of wonderful science-oriented comic book we can expect in a post-Logicomix world, then I'm excited, because this was just fantastic. Now, I've been a fan of Feynman ever since freshman year of college, when Antonio lent me Surely You're Joking, Mister Feynman!, & this book really does right by him. By all of him, from his personal life-- marrying his childhood sweetheart after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis-- to his work in physics-- there is a nice fat section where he explains some quantum electrodynamics-- to some of Feynman's quirks-- like being a Brazilian parade musician or testifying in defense of the strip club he went to every day. It isn't hyperbole to say that Feynman is the Loki in the pantheon of scientists, up there with Einstein & Newton-- in fact he worked with Einstein as a peer & hell, QED is the most recent update of Newton's work with optics, really. Maybe my favorite bit of this graphic novel was the same part that really sticks with me from Surely You're Joking...-- his time at Los Alamos as part of the Manhattan Project. He's just such an imp, pointing out the security holes of the project & then getting scapegoated for them. Really, white hat hacking the invention of the nuclear bomb has got to be one of the all-time boldest things anyone has ever done. Feynman has such a massive mind, & developed such a gift for communicating the complex, & the way this book captures his struggle between those poles is phenomenal. By the end, during his involvement with the Challenger Disaster investigation, you can feel his frustration with the entire situation. Feynman is the sort of madman, the maniac who goes after what he wants with gusto while ignoring everything else-- but what he decides to go after will surprise you. He finds the middle path-- theory, between math & engineering, but theory that changes the world, that is more than equations-- theory that is understandable.

Tags: books, comics, feynman, haiku, myrick, ottaviani

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