Feynman, Richard Phillips fīn´mən [key]
, 1918–88, American physicist, b. New York City, B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1939, Ph.D. Princeton, 1942. From 1942 to 1945 he worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He taught (1945–50) at Cornell and became professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology in 1950. The Feynman diagram, proposed by him in 1949, shows the track of a particle in space and time and provides a clear means of describing particle interactions. Feynman also made significant contributions to the theories of superfluidity
and quarks. In 1957 he and Murray Gell-Mann
proposed the theory of weak nuclear force
. Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Shinichiro Tomonaga
and J. S. Schwinger
for work leading to the establishment of the modern theory of quantum electrodynamics
. He wrote the influential Feynman Lectures on Physics
(commemorative issue, 3 vol., 1990), Feynman Lectures on Gravitation
(1994), and Feynman Lectures on Computation
See his Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (1985), What Do You Care What Other People Think? (1988), QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (1988, repr. 2006), and The Meaning of It All (1998); Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman (2005), ed. by M. Feynman; biographies by J. Gleick (1993), J. Mehra (1994), and L. M. Krauss (2011); C. Sykes, No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman (1996); D. L. Goodstein and J. R. Goodstein, Feynman's Lost Lecture (1996); J. Gribbin and M. Gribbin, Richard Feynman (1997); G. J. Milburn, The Feynman Processor (1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Physics: Biographies