Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Genius' Quotes

Richard Feynman is my scientific hero. I decided to get real science education after reading the first few chapters from these books by him. I found these quotes when I'm ordering another of his books:
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Perhaps the best example of Feynman's self-understanding lies in his attitude toward money. After some happy years at Cornell, Feynman is lured to Caltech, where he is even happier. But one day the University of Chicago offers him "a tremendous amount of money, three or four times what I was making." He writes back:

"After reading the salary, I've decided that I must refuse. The reasons I have to refuse a salary like that is I would be able to do what I've always wanted to do -- get a wonderful mistress, put her up in an apartment, buy her nice things. . . . With the salary you have offered, I could actually do that, and I know what would happen to me. I'd worry about her, what she's doing; I'd get into arguments when I come home, and so on. All this bother would make me uncomfortable and unhappy. I wouldn't be able to do physics well, and it would be a big mess. What I've always wanted to do would be bad for me, so I've decided that I can't accept your offer."

More choice quotes:

"I learned from her [his mother] that the highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion."

"That's the way the world was: You worked long hours and got nothing for it, every day."

"Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look at what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, 'Is it reasonable?' "

"Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the people of the future a free hand. . . . If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming 'This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!' we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before."

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