In these Messenger Lectures, originally delivered at Cornell University and recorded for television by the BBC, Richard Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws and gathers their common features into one broad principle of invariance. He In these Messenger Lectures, originally delivered at Cornell University and recorded for television by the BBC, Richard Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws and gathers their common features into one broad principle of invariance. He maintains at the outset that the importance of a physical law is not "how clever we are to have found it out, but...how clever nature is to pay attention to it," and tends his discussions toward a final exposition of the elegance and simplicity of all scientific laws. Rather than an essay on the most significant achievements in modern science, The Character of Physical Law is a statement of what is most remarkable in nature. Feynman's enlightened approach, his wit, and his enthusiasm make this a memorable exposition of the scientist's craft.The Law of Gravitation is the author's principal example. Relating the details of its discovery and stressing its mathematical character, he uses it to demonstrate the essential interaction of mathematics and physics.

He views mathematics as the key to any system of scientific laws, suggesting that if it were possible to fill out the structure of scientific theory completely, the result would be an integrated set of mathematical axioms. The principles of conservation, symmetry, and time-irreversibility are then considered in relation to developments in classical and modern physics, and in his final lecture Feynman develops his own analysis of the process and future of scientific discovery.Like any set of oral reflections, The Character of Physical Law has special value as a demonstration of the mind in action. The reader is particularly lucky in Richard Feynman. One of the most eminent and imaginative modern physicists, he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology until his death in 1988. He is best known for his work on the quantum theory of the electromagnetic field, as well as for his later research in the field of low-temperature physics.

In 1954 he received the Albert Einstein Award for his "outstanding contribution to knowledge in mathematical and physical sciences"; in 1965 he was appointed to Foreign Membership in the Royal Society and was awarded the Nobel Prize. ...Continua

He views mathematics as the key to any system of scientific laws, suggesting that if it were possible to fill out the structure of scientific theory completely, the result would be an integrated set of mathematical axioms. The principles of conservation, symmetry, and time-irreversibility are then considered in relation to developments in classical and modern physics, and in his final lecture Feynman develops his own analysis of the process and future of scientific discovery.Like any set of oral reflections, The Character of Physical Law has special value as a demonstration of the mind in action. The reader is particularly lucky in Richard Feynman. One of the most eminent and imaginative modern physicists, he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology until his death in 1988. He is best known for his work on the quantum theory of the electromagnetic field, as well as for his later research in the field of low-temperature physics.

In 1954 he received the Albert Einstein Award for his "outstanding contribution to knowledge in mathematical and physical sciences"; in 1965 he was appointed to Foreign Membership in the Royal Society and was awarded the Nobel Prize. ...Continua

The Character of Physical Law

Ha scritto il 21/01/06

A classic

These seven lectures demonstrate once again the teaching brilliance of Feynman. He starts off with a lecture in gravity, which is not a particularly sexy topic. But his delivery makes all the differences. He's clearly more interested in the process o

These seven lectures demonstrate once again the teaching brilliance of Feynman. He starts off with a lecture in gravity, which is not a particularly sexy topic. But his delivery makes all the differences. He's clearly more interested in the process of the discovery than the theory itself. It read like a story, and by the end I realized I've (a) understood the theory much more thoroughly, (b) built an appreciation for the significance of it and Newton's brilliance, and (c) got a taste of what physics was really about.

And that's just the first lecture.

He goes on to talk about conservation of energy, symmetry in physics, quantum mechanics, etc. Some ideas are more challenging than others, but it never gets too bad as the lectures are meant as an introduction for College students of all majors.

The final lecture "Seeking New Law" is my favorite, as he steps back from the theories to discuss the previous trends in their discoveries ("Guessing a law is an art"), what lies ahead, and how our quest for new laws would likely end.

You'll probably forget many of the details of his teachings, but his distinct style of approaching physics - and knowledge in general - will likely stick in your head for years to come.

...Continua
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