Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Offices and Feynmann

Joel's praise of Richard Feynmann caused me to go look him up, and I found this incredibly outstanding article:
http://www.physics.brocku.ca/etc/cargo_cult_science.html

Synchronicity. (See Joel's 11/14 article)

Philo

Philo.
Monday, November 17, 2003

If you liked that, you really owe it to yourself to read "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman".

Kevin
Monday, November 17, 2003

Read anything about Fenyman you can get your hands on.  And Ed Whitten for that matter.


Monday, November 17, 2003

Really, read _anything_ Feynmann. His "Lectures on Physics" is very enjoyable - it's very far from the typical textbook, even though it's often found on the same shelf. He manages to explain a lot of physics with very simple math, often without having to resort to formulas at all.

Ori Berger
Monday, November 17, 2003

What's so interesting about this article?

Jason
Monday, November 17, 2003

The article contains one of Feynman's best quotes: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool."

Hardware Guy
Monday, November 17, 2003

His lectures on tape are great to listen to as well (though you've got to have 'the red books' to make sense of some of the diagrams and setups he refers to).

His lectures on computation (his later years) are fantastic (he worked as a programmer at Los Alamos for a while as part of his duties on that little atom bomb project).  There's a PBS Nova biography on him that's absolutely beautiful.  He also had some interesting things to say about Quantum Electro-Dynamics.

Also, if your outlook on the world is informed by your experience with computational principles, you might be interested in his comments on discrete computational models of physics (see the 'Feynman Checkerboard' for example).  This segment of a recent conversation has some interesting comments (http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2002-10/msg0044818.html) -- though there are good answers to the author's point about Bell's Theorem and 'the jaggies' w.r.t. cellular automa (which you can find all over).

K
Monday, November 17, 2003

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick

Bill
Monday, November 17, 2003

Another vote for "Surely, You're joking Mr. Feynman".

Very entertaining.  I've been meaning to read the Gleick book. (He's written some neat stuff). Thanks for the reminder.

BTW, Feynman was the one who (nearly) singlehandedly figured out the cause of the Challenger crash.

Entrepreneur
Monday, November 17, 2003

"Surely you'e joking" is execptional.  The followup book "What do you care what others think, Mr. Feynman" is nearly as good.  The section on the Challenger Roger's commission investigation is an ey-opener, and topic with the Space Shuttle still grounded after the Columbia explosion.

Also, the Gleick book is a must read. (Read it after the other two).

Glade Warner
Monday, November 17, 2003

Richard Feynman used to hang out in a strip bar.  He eventually testified in court as a defense witness when the owner was charged with obscenity.

Richard Feynman is a man after my own heart.

J. D. Trollinger
Monday, November 17, 2003

When did Joel praise Feynman?  I must have missed that one.

.
Monday, November 17, 2003

In the "wawa" thread.

sgf
Monday, November 17, 2003

Those psychologists Feynman mentions remind me of management.  I've known about 30 rats (the friendly kind, not sewer rats), about two of which are fairly humanlike in intelligence, and I think rats are often pretty subtle suckers.  One of them, a clumsy fireball-colored one, had a good sense of manners and interesting ways to deal with hurt feelings until they subsided.  The other, a little grey one, was very experimental and clearly observed before taking action (too bad she was a sociopathic little charmer with little respect for the weak).

Even when we have human voices, we can't communicate with those who manage and judge us.  Kent Pitman argues about telecommuting that "many managers are either ill at ease or downright unqualified to say whether the people working for them are in fact doing their job if the actual criterion to be used is 'understanding what they are doing' or 'knowing whether what is being done is being done right.'"
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=65930&cid=6083290

Tayssir John Gabbour
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Feynmann is one of the greatest! Gleick's biography of him "Genius" captures this very well and is a superb read.
I'm surprized at your late discovery of the cargo-cult article, as it has been one of the staple references of this board.
Are you so busy posting you don't have any time to read the board, Philo? :-p

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I'm well aware of cargo cultism, but I've only seen references to McConnell's "Cargo Cult Software"; didn't realize it had a forebearer. :-)

Philo

Philo.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I read Gleick's biography of Feynman.  I didn't like it.  Far too dry for my taste.

I found this biography to be much better:

http://tinyurl.com/vm19

It's called, "No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman", by Richard Phillips Feynman, Christopher Sykes (Editor)

Very entertaining and informative.

J. D. Trollinger
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Feynman had help solving the Challenger disaster. An engineer (can't remember if he was from NASA or Morton Thiokol) talked with him about the key issue.

Feynman's role in bringing out what the engineers could not (due to various levels of ass-covering) was two-fold: he was on the Commission and his genius for exposition gave him the brilliantly simple demonstration he used.

Cheers,

Jody Woodland
Friday, November 21, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home