Richard Feynman was born 100 years ago

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman

Richard Phillips Feynman (photo ©The Nobel Foundation) was born on May 11, 1918 in New York, USA. His father stimulated his curiosity by giving him scientific texts and stimulating him to think about things. He was still a kid when he started behaving the same way with his younger sister, born in 1927, who became an astrophysicist when she grew up.

When he went to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Richard Feynman had already studied several advanced mathematics topics. Initially at the university he studied mathematics but soon it seemed too abstract and he decided to switch to electronic engineering then changed his mind and switched to physics. After graduating in 1939 he received a Ph.D. at Princeton in 1943.

Already in 1941 Richard Feynman got involved with the Manhattan Project. It was a complicated period of his life because in 1942 he married for the first time but his wife Arline was already seriously ill with tuberculosis and died in 1945, leaving her husband with a big void along with mixed feelings after the use of atomic bombs on Japan. In 1946 his father died and Feynman, who in the meantime had become a teacher at Cornell University, threw himself into his work, including theoretical physics problems.

Over the years, Richard Feynman developed the mathematical tools that allowed him to arrive at quantum electrodynamics, the theory for which in 1965 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. However, those years were chaotic with a new marriage that lasted only a few years, the transition to the teaching staff of Caltech with lessons that were later collected in various volumes and problems in the world of physics due to the witch hunt during the years of McCarthyism.

Despite everything, Richard Feynman continued both his teaching and research activities to further develop quantum mechanics. Over the years he received a number of national and international awards up to the National Medal of Science in 1979.

In 1978, Richard Feynman was diagnosed with liposarcoma and had to start a series of treatments. Despite serious health problems, he continued his activity and in 1986 he became part of the commission charged with investigating the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Richard Feynman died on February 15, 1988, leaving a considerable legacy in the scientific field for his contributions and also as a popularizer. In the following years he was remembered in various ways with tributes, biographies, new editions of his autobiographical works and much more.

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