Thursday, August 10, 2017

What do you care... by Richard Feynman ****

What do you care about what other people think? by Richard Feynman is billed as a sequel to Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman. Unfortunately, like many sequels, it is a disappointment. Surely you're joking is a classic and anyone interested in science should read this. It is undoubtedly one of the best books about the ethics and ethos of science.

If you are not familiar with Feynman, briefly he was a brilliant physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, taught at Caltech, and received a Nobel Prize.

This book divides into three parts. The first is the sequel the Surely you're joking with vignettes from Feynman's life, notably about his courtship and marriage to his first wife, who died very young. If you enjoyed, the first book, you enjoy this also.

The second section is a small collection of letters to and from Feynman.

 The third section chronicles his participation on the Presidential Commission that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This is a combination of Faynmen stories like Surely you're joking and a report on the disaster. I personally consider it to be the definitive report. It is what I recall.

The Challenger section is also a nostalgic piece of a time when people trusted scientists and news reporters were interested in the truth.

If you've already read Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman, this is an enjoyable addendum. The other reason to read this book is for the excellent discussion of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster with some advice for technical managers.

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