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Dr. Richard P. Feynman Essay

1645 words - 7 pages

The Early Life of Dr. Richard P. Feynman

Richard Feynman was a modern Renaissance man. Hailed as a scientist, musician, Nobel Laureate, and teacher. He played in a street band in Rio de Janerio, deciphered Mayan hieroglyphics, a fundamental contributor to quantum electrodynamics, and one of two learned men of his time on Tanna Tuva, his experience and skill were of a broad range and applications.

Born in 1918 in Far Rockaway, New York, Richard Feynman started working with and studying electronics at a young age. At eleven, he began to repair radio systems as a hobby, for hotels and homes alike. Because it was the Depression, and he worked for free, he received a good deal of demand. He wasn't trying to make a profit; he wanted to learn more about them, by repairing. His spare time was usually spent experimenting with various different electronics. He once crafted a radio that could pick up signals from Texas, and used it to "predict" radio shows, by listening to them a few hours before the local stations broadcast them.

At seventeen, he attended MIT, studying physics and graduating after four years as a physics major. During this time he met Arlene, whom he married in 1941. She shared a vigor for life with Feynman, and served as a point of constancy in his life. He went on to study at Princeton after graduating from MIT in 1943. Here he had another experiment; if you take a S-shaped sprinkler, submerge it in water, and vacuum water into it, which direction does it turn, the same as if it were spraying water into air, or the opposite? The debate for this question went on long enough, that Feynman decided to go out and DO it. By placing such a sprinkler into a large water bottle, and pressurizing the water to push water into the sprinkler, he could produce results. While this functioned well enough to answer the question, this resulted in the bottle exploding, scattering glass and water everywhere. While this did not harm anyone, it added to Feynman's repute as a researcher at heart.

Los Alamos and Beyond

While performing graduate studies at Princeton, Feynman decided to find ways to serve his country. While the war began to hit full stride, a call came out for physicists, to win the race for the A-bomb against the Germans. Feynman responded to the call and joined some of America's greatest minds at Los Alamos research base. Unfortunately, it was around this time that his wife, Arlene, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was able to keep her nearby in Albuquerque, where she could reside in a hospital to provide her care. Los Alamos proved to be a significant shift for Feynman, who was not only amidst some of the greats of the time, but also working nonstop on a research project. He did, however, find sufficient time to occupy himself with a new hobby. Recreation was limited at Los Alamos, and in his spare time Feynman found something of sufficient variety and complexity to occupy his attention; safecracking. In his spare time he...

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