Richard Feynman

Richard Phillips Feynman (1918 - 1988) American theoretical physicist, best known for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics (QED). He won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics.

He was born in New York of Jewish immigrants. Barely in high school, young Richard was way ahead of his classmates, mastering calculus while they struggled with algebra. After high school he went to MIT and was appointed a Putnam Fellow upon graduation. Feynman obtained a from Princeton and married Arlene Greenbaum there. After working on the Manhattan Project during World War II, Feynman taught physics at Cornell and later CalTech. His most wide-ranging contributions are perhaps the Feynman diagram and the Feynman path integral, initially used in quantum mechanics, but now used widely in many other areas of mathematics and physics. During WWII he contributed to the Manhattan project by leading a team who carried out numerical computations related to the A-bomb development. Perhaps one of his more controversial contributions was in nuclear chromodynamics (QCD) where he postulated the existence of ‘partons’–hypothetical constituents of protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei– that were later defined more precisely (by identifying the SU(3) flavor symmetryMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath of light ‘partons’) by the 1969 Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Man, who also re-named them ‘quarks’. Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann worked together on the vector structureMathworldPlanetmath of the weak interaction in physics, in parallelMathworldPlanetmathPlanetmath with the competing group of George Sudarshan and Robert Marshak; their work was soon to be fully developed after the“seminal discovery of parity violation by Chien-Shiung Wu, as suggested by Chen-Ning Yang and T. D. Lee”. In 1981, in several public addresses, Richard Feynman suggested the possibility of developing quantum machinesMathworldPlanetmath and quantum computersPlanetmathPlanetmathPlanetmath (

Most physicists were impressed with Feynman’s ability for applied mathematics. Feynman has Erdős number ( 4. With Murray Gell-Mann he published an article on the theory of Fermi interaction for Phys. Rev. (2) in 1958. Gell-Mann in turn wrote an article on gauge theories with Sheldon Glashow for another physics journal, and Glashow co-authored an article on mass formulas and mass inequalities with Coleman and Daniel Kleitman. Kleitman co-authored with Erdős a paper “On coloringMathworldPlanetmath graphs to maximize the proportion of multicolored k-edges” in the Journal of Combinatorial Theory in 1968.

Famous for making jokes and pulling pranks, Feynman often claimed he wanted to memorize π to 767 decimal (now called the Feynman point in his honor). Feynman was honored on : The Next Generation with a shuttlecraft named after him. More recently, the United States Postal Service honored Feynman with 37-cent stamps along with fellow Manhattan Project alum John von Neumann.

Title Richard Feynman
Canonical name RichardFeynman
Date of creation 2013-03-22 17:14:37
Last modified on 2013-03-22 17:14:37
Owner Mravinci (12996)
Last modified by Mravinci (12996)
Numerical id 16
Author Mravinci (12996)
Entry type Biography
Classification msc 81T18
Classification msc 01A60
Synonym Richard Phillips Feynman
Synonym Richard P. Feynman
Related topic FeynmanKacFormula
Related topic QEDInTheoreticalAndMathematicalPhysics
Related topic QuantumAutomataAndQuantumComputation2
Related topic FeynmannPathIntegral