richard feynman – pleasure of finding things out

richard feynman

found picture on this post

From brainpickings post – sharing Feynman’s little-known sketches and drawings.. here he explains why:

I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It’s difficult to describe because it’s an emotion. It’s analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the universe: there’s a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run ‘behind the scenes’ by the same organization, the same physical laws. It’s an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is. It’s a feeling of awe – of scientific awe – which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had that emotion. I could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe.

In the introductory essay, Feynman also considers the differences in teaching art and teaching science, a disconnect Isaac Asimov has famously addressed in his passionate case for creativity in science education. Feynman writes:

I noticed that the teacher didn’t tell people much (the only thing he told me was my picture was too small on the page). Instead, he tried to inspire us to experiment with new approaches. I thought of how we teach physics: We have so many techniques—so many mathematical methods—that we never stop telling the students how to do things. On the other hand, the drawing teacher is afraid to tell you anything. If your lines are very heavy, the teacher can’t say, “Your lines are too heavy.” because some artist has figured out a way of making great pictures using heavy lines. The teacher doesn’t want to push you in some particular direction. So the drawing teacher has this problem of communicating how to draw by osmosis and not by instruction, while the physics teacher has the problem of always teaching techniques, rather than the spirit, of how to go about solving physical problems.


falling in the love with the man.

as he shares how he falls in love with – the pleasure of finding things out..


[below – random posts from my – crazy journal site – back to 2008?]

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more from richard feynman

the pleasure of finding things out.
this one is a little longer – 49 min.
i’m feeling like a kid in a candy store – discovering all these interviews.
and wishing my students could/would feel this way.oh the pleasure
of finding things out.
quote shared on fb:
Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don’t think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn’t stop you from doing anything at all.         – Richard Feynman

richard feynman

i haven’t watched this in like 2 years.
i love richard feynman.
i have a limited intelligence – so i kept pretty focused
we used to translate everything we read..
his father translated everything in all different languages… when you finished, you know nothing about the bird, but only what different cultures call them
he (his dad) knew the difference between
knowing the name of something
and knowing something..  he always left conversations open for noticing,… no pressure, just lovely interesting discussionalgebra – a series of steps where you could get the answer if you didn’t understand what you were trying to do.
trig for the practical man.. soon forgot it again, because i didn’t understand it very well.disrespect for things that are respectable..
his father was in the uniform business.. so he knew the difference between a man with the uniform off and the uniform on.. it’s the same photon bag in an atom
he sent me to all the unis to find out things and i never did find out.. could never explain things to my dadwhat i did immorally is not to remember the reason i said that i was doing it.. so that when the reason changed, not the single thought came to mind that that meant i had to reconsider why i was doing it… i simply didn’t think
he wanted to play more than look at use.. when in this relaxed function... working things out poured freely – after that is when he won the noble prize

i don’t like honors … i notice others use my work… i don’t need anything else… i’ve already got the prize:

1) the pleasure of finding things out

2) the kick in the discovery

3) the observation others use it

honors is uniforms… it bothers me
when i got into the aritstar – what i found out is what they did in their meetings was sit around and decide who else gets to become one of them, who is illustrious enough
purpose was mostly to decide who could have this honor.. he doesn’t like honors

to figure life out.. imagine – we are in a big chess game but we don’t know the rules..
so you try to figure out what the rules are..
the thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting, the part that doesn’t fit..

laws sometimes look positive.. they keep learning until something doesn’t work – then we figure it out

unlike the chess game – were rules become more difficult as we go along
but not in physics – they become simpler..

if we expand out experience into wilder and wilder regions of experience, every once in a while we have these integrations in which everything is pulled together in a unification (fractal) which turns out to be simpler than it looked before.

if you are interested the ultimate character of the physical/real/complete world.. at the present time – our only way to understand that is through mathematical reasoning..  (and we’re missing it – let’s go wolfram’s computer based)
if we’re talking about physics… then not knowing mathematics is a severe limitation
need to get a qualitative idea of how the problem works before i can get a quantitative one
that rough understanding can be defined… later
in science – we’re stuck in seeing what the consequences are.. have a theory that you can’t work out the consequences of

i’ve invented a myth for myself – i’m actively irresponsible – i take the view – let george do it…

i’m selfish – i want to do my physics…

the best way to teach is to have no philosophy.. to be chaotic and confusing… use every possible way of doing it..
how do you direct them to become interested..
1) by force – works for some
but after many years – feynman says – i don’t know how to do it.. (hook everyone at the same time or even just one)

they follow the forms,,… but they haven’t got anywhere – yet.
we get experts on everything that sound scientific.. they’re not scientific.. they sit at the typewriter and make up stuff as if it’s science.. but hasn’t been tested yet.
there’s all kinds of myths and psuedo sciences all over.
i may be quite wrong.. but i don’t think i’m wrong
see i have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something… how careful you have to be about checking yours experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself.
i know what it means to know something..
i see how they get their info
i have a great suspicion that they don’t know.. they haven’t done the checks,… the care..
and they intimidate people by it..
i think so.. i don’t know the world very well.. but that’s what i think

people say.. are you looking for the ultimate law of physics and i say – no i’m not, i’m just looking to find out more about the world..if it turns out there’s something that explains everything, so be it
nature is going to come out the way she is
therefore – when we go to investigate it – we shouldn’t pre-decide what it is we’re trying to do except try to find out more about it
if you say, why do you find out more about it.. if it’s to find some answer to answer some deep philosophical question.. you may be wrong.. you may never be able to find out
….those are mysteries i want to investigate without knowing the answer to them..

how do you find out if something is true..
once you start doubting like you’re supposed to start
as soon as you do that you start sliding down an edge that is difficult

it’s a very fundamental part of my soul to ask

i can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing..

much more interesting to live in doubt than answers that are wrong
i don’t have to know an answer

i don’t feel frightened by not knowing things

richard feynman

via leonard susskindDick Feynman always made me feel smart. always made me feel we could solve anything together.
he would always win.. but if he lost, he would always laugh and seem to have just as much fun.a feynman sandwich had a ton of ham but absolutely not baloney.
he hated false pretensefeynman thought it was a necessary part of being a great physicist.. having a father like he hadhist scientific style was to find the simplest solution. he believed if you couldn’t explain it simply – you didn’t understand it.feynman diagrams to understand particleshow to honor feynman? by getting as much baloney out of our own sandwiches as we can.

Richard feynman

I love this think Richard would too.
is that really him playing the drums?this reminds me of Shadyaks I Am
Jun 28, 2009
check out these videos – interviews of richard feynman (amazing physicist) · ways of thinking – part 1 · ways of thinking – part 2 · magnets and why questions he’s adorable. i wish he were still alive. how did i miss him? Share | 
Nov 24, 2012
Richard Feynman The Richard Feynman Series 1: Beauty…… love the man.. Mary Loftus (@marloft) 11/24/12 4:06 AM The always-brilliant Vi Hart teaches you #maths via mashed potato 
Jan 20, 2012
Richard Feynman danced to the pleasure of finding things out. Lisa Gansky says we’ll have more if we share. Jane McGonigal says we crave hard work. James Bach advices to try to ignore something to see how much it 
and the bongos…


about algebra..



Michelle (his daughter) and Christopher Sykes – on the making of the films (pleasure of finding things out) tedx 2011:

again – toward the end.. the prize – is the pleasure of finding things out..


letter to his dead wife.. opened 1988

from Maria

yes i said yes i will yes ness


from Maria

ode to a flower

universe in a glass of wine



For Richard Feynman’s birthday, @JamesGleick on the source of The Great Explainer’s genius…
In his taxonomy of the two types of geniuses, probability theory pioneer Mark Kac distinguishes between “ordinary geniuses” and “magicians,” pointing toRichard Feynman (May 11, 1918–February 15, 1988) as a rare example of the latter. One of the most celebrated minds of the past century, Feynman was a champion of scientific knowledge so effective and so beloved that he has generated an entire canon of personal mythology. And yet he held uncertainty at the center of his intellectual and creative life. The pursuit and stewardship of knowledge was his life’s work, but the ecstasy of not-knowing was the wellspring of his magic. “It is imperative,” he wroteto have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature.”



Many people who do work that matters “have work habits that seem downright lazy by the standards in their field”…

As Feynman admitted in a 1981 interview: “I’m actively irresponsible


this generic notion of work that we spawned the culture of busyness that afflicts us today, where the measure of your success becomes synonymous with the measure of your exhaustion.


asked why/how magnets repel

how does a person answer why something happens..

when you explain a why.. you have to be in some framework that you allowed something to be true.. otherwise.. you’re perpetually asking why..

2 min – you begin to get a very interesting understanding of the world and all its complications.. if try to follow anything up.. you go deeper/deeper in various directions..

3 min – ie: you ok with.. because you slip on ice.. or go deeper as to why.. is ice slippery.. to why does water expand when it freezes and other substances don’t expand.. et al..

i’m not answering your question but i’m telling you how difficult a why question is.. you have to know what it is that you’re permitted to understand and allowed to be understood and known.. and what it is you’re not.. the more i ask why.. it gets interesting.. that’s my idea that the deeper it is the more interesting it is

4 min – when you ask why do magnets repel.. there are many diff levels.. it depends on whether you’re a student or an ordinary person that doesn’t know anything about it.. if you’re somebody that doesn’t know anything at all.. all i can say is that there’s a magnetic force that makes it repel .. and that you’re feeling that force

5 min – it turns out the magnetic and electric force with which i wish to explain these things.. is what ultimately is the deeper thing.. that we have to.. that we can start with to explain many other things that looked like they were.. everybody would just accept them.. you know you can’t put your hand thru the chair.. that’s taken for granted..  but when you can’t put hand thru chair.. you look more closely.. why.. that involves the same repulsive forces that appear in magnets.. the situation you then have to explain is why in magnets.. goes over a bigger distance than an ordinary (chair) … it’s a force that is present all the time.. very common.. a basic force.. almost.. i mean i could go a little further back.. more technical..

6 min – but in the early level i am just gonna have to tell you.. that’s going to be one of the things you’ll just have to take as an element in the world.. magnetic repulsion or electrical/magnetic attraction..

i can’t explain that attraction in anything else that’s familiar to you..

ie: if i would say magnets attracting as if by rubber bands.. i would be cheating you.. because they’re not connected by rubber bands..  and i’d soon be in trouble.. you’d soon ask me about the nature of the bands.. and secondly .. if you were curious enough you’d ask me why rubber bands tend to pull back together again and i would end up explaining that in terms of electrical forces.. which are the very things i’m trying to use the rubber bands to explain.. so i have cheated very badly you see..

so i’m not going to be able to give you an answer.. to why magnets attract each other.. except to tell you they do..

and to tell you that’s one of the elements in the world and diff kinds of forces in the world.. electrical/magnetic/gravitational forces.. and others.. and those are some of the parts..

7 min – if you were a student i could go further.. that magnetic forces are related to electrical forces very intimately.. that relations between the gravitational forces and electrical forces remains unknown.. and so on..

but i really can’t do a good job.. any job.. of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else that you’re more familiar with.. because i don’t understand it in terms of anything else that you’re more familiar with

thinking: idio jargon ness keeps us closer to truth further from cheating.

if we weren’t dealing with diversity and too much to know ness.. then maybe we could do legible as pre-req.. but we are.. we’re swimming in it (uncertainty).

thank goodness.. because that’s what’s changed.. we now have a means to facil that choas.. eagle and condor ness



“impossible to say anything with absolute precision, unless […] so abstracted from the real world as to not represent any real thing” — RF


“…it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.” — Richard Feynman…


“There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”-M. Crichton


a bit more on nobel peace prize here (on Maria‘s post about Jean-Paul Sartre refusing it):

Maria Popova (@brainpicker) tweeted at 6:01 AM – 22 Oct 2017 :

This is the moral courage of conviction: On this day in 1964, Sartre became the first person to decline the Nobel (

physicist Richard Feynman — who won the Nobel Prize himself a year after Sartre — put it best in his eloquent denouncement of awards:

I don’t see that it makes any point that someone in the Swedish academy just decides that this work is noble enough to receive a prize — I’ve already gotten the prize. The prize is the pleasure of finding a thing out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it — those are the real things. The honors are unreal to me. I don’t believe in honors.

Making a fuss out of declining an award seems not much different from making a fuss over accepting it — both make the award more real than it need be if one were truly interested in breaking free from the system. Why can’t the private pleasure of finding things out be enough, award or no award?

award ness messes w us

someone rt d this today

If you cannot explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it.

Original Tweet:

simple terms doesn’t mean terms you can understand..

ie: from above when asked why/how magnets repel

so i’m not going to be able to give you an answer.. to why magnets attract each other.. except to tell you they do.

but i really can’t do a good job.. any job.. of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else that you’re more familiar with.. because i don’t understand it in terms of anything else that you’re more familiar with

again.. thinking: idio jargon ness sets us free from demanding a ..simplicity.. in which we really mean..makes sense to me.. idio ness could help us to see that if people can’t sound bit an answer that makes sense to us.. it doesn’t mean they don’t get it..

less about not getting it and more about not getting me.. not getting the verbiage that makes that connection for me


richard on knowledge

Richard Feynman (@ProfFeynman) tweeted at 11:30 AM – 7 Aug 2019 :
Don’t get frightened by not knowing things. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything. There are many things I don’t know anything about. It doesn’t frighten me. (