Feynman is SUCH A GENIUS! He explain QED better than any other similar book. He can really explain the full complexity without using high mathematics. He proofs that, layman can understand physics too.... if only they meet the good teachers who can speak really clearly.
And, he is so honest to tell everybody the truth: NOBODY UNDERSTAND QUANTUMN PHYSICS!!! EVEN FEYNMAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND IT!
So what, it is so complicated, and we are working on it. It is MUCH better to admit it, and then humbly work on this problem.... one day.... we should be able to crack it!
Read it, if you really want to understand quantumn physics (as scientist understand it so far)....Continua
Richard Feynman is by far one of the best writers of physics, because he can explain very difficult matters with easy words. Of course, the book asks some basic understanding of particle physics, but you start with very simple statements and from that you learn one of the best physics theories developed so far. For some reason, everybody knows the name of Einstein and few know about Feynman, but he is by sure one of the genius of the 20th century....Continua
A book aims at a non-technical audience -- you can probably understand it if you can do arithmetic without using a calculator. (An ability that has become less-than-common these days, I realize.) Therefore it is not listed under my "intimidating physics books" section.
The book is about Quantum ElectroDynamics, QED for short, a theory Feynman himself has contributed a lot to. It is a quantum description of the electromagnetic field, and how it interacts with matters carrying electric charge.
Feynman attempted to give an intuitive picture to everything he talked about. His usual style. And he is largely successful, although sometimes pictures he painted, while being technically correct, are very far from how people actually deal with the problem.
With one exception, though.
Near the end of the book, he described some then unsolved mysteries surrounding QED. Back then one of the biggest problems bugging physicists for years was those annoying infinities you get for virtually any calculation in QED.
Sure, there are ways ("renormalization", we call it) to get rid of these infinities -- but back then it wasn't so clear to physicists if this renormalization procedure is legitimate at all.
(There is a cartoon, still to be seen on the wall somewhere in every particle theory group's office space, making fun of how people "sweep all the infinities under the rug".)
Feynman of course wrote about this issue in the book, and said that the need of renormalization signifies something's not right.
Well, the general view on this issue changed during the '70s; the meaning of renormalization was re-interpreted by Kenneth Wilson. It is not to be thought of as just an exercise to remove "unphysical" infinities. But rather we admit that our theory is incomplete; it is going to fail when we push it to the extreme short-distance limit. The infinities signal the failure of the theory, and before we know what lies beyond (which we still don't), the sensible thing to do is to cut away this extreme limit.
Can't foul Feynman for not knowing the future development when he wrote the book. But just want to point out that his take on this issue is somewhat outdated....Continua