By Dr Vaidehi Nathan
Feynman, Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick,:01 First Second, Pp 263(HB), $29.99.
For Richard Phillips Feynman, a Nobel Laureate physicist popularising the subject was a mission. He received the Nobel in 1965 for his contribution to the development of quantum electro-dynamics. He wrote very easy-to-understand books and took lecture tours to spread interest and awareness about nano-technology, among other things. In his time he was easily the most known scientist. Feynman died in 1988 from a rare twin cancer. His last recorded words were “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
Feynman was a world-class raconteur and in what could be a befitting tribute Jim Ottaviani has brought out a pictorial biography of Feynman. Leland Myrick has done the artwork. The book like the Amar Chitra Katha series is lively, with short dialogues and emotive drawings.
Feynman was an adventurer, a musician and believe it or not a safe cracker! When he was young he evinced such keen and varied interest that his parents were exasperated. One day it would be chemistry, the next day physics and the third day engineering. When he was in college, he started liking a girl. She was doing philosophy. He had zero interest in the subject. One day she told him how his teacher had said there was two sides to everything. Feynman worked hard and came up with an ‘one-sided’ object, a looped strip of paper. The girl challenged her teacher in the class next day and impressed him. Feynman and she became friends.
Feynman wrote autobiographical collections “Surely. You’re Joking, Mr Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think?” He was very keen on going to Tuva, a Russian province then under the Soviet Union. The permission came two days after he died.
Funny, interesting and full of information the book is a pleasure to read. The illustrations are coloured vibrant. A good way to get acquainted with Feynman.
(01 First Second,175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10010)