Richard Feynman quotes

Born
May 11, 1918, Queens, New York, U.S.

Died
February 15, 1988, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Occupation
Theoretical physics.

Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model.

Until I began to learn to draw, I was never much interested in looking at art.
– Richard Feynman
Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
– Richard Feynman
If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize.
– Richard Feynman
I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.
– Richard Feynman
I thought one should have the attitude of ‘What do you care what other people think!’
– Richard Feynman
I decided to sell my drawings. However, I didn’t want people to buy my drawings because the professor of physics isn’t supposed to be able to draw – isn’t that wonderful – so I made up a false name.
– Richard Feynman
The internal machinery of life, the chemistry of the parts, is something beautiful. And it turns out that all life is interconnected with all other life.
– Richard Feynman
It has not yet become obvious to me that there’s no real problem. I cannot define the real problem; therefore, I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no real problem.
– Richard Feynman
Europeans are much more serious than we are in America because they think that a good place to discuss intellectual matters is a beer party.
– Richard Feynman
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
– Richard Feynman
The idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.
– Richard Feynman
First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense.
– Richard Feynman
Each piece, or part, of the whole of nature is always merely an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet.
– Richard Feynman
We do not know what the rules of the game are; all we are allowed to do is to watch the playing. Of course, if we watch long enough, we may eventually catch on to a few of the rules. The rules of the game are what we mean by fundamental physics.
– Richard Feynman
What one fool can understand, another can.
– Richard Feynman
Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you will get ‘down the drain,’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.
– Richard Feynman
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
– Richard Feynman
Working out another system to replace Newton’s laws took a long time because phenomena at the atomic level were quite strange. One had to lose one’s common sense in order to perceive what was happening at the atomic level.
– Richard Feynman
Physics has a history of synthesizing many phenomena into a few theories.
– Richard Feynman
In talking about the impact of ideas in one field on ideas in another field, one is always apt to make a fool of oneself.
– Richard Feynman
Often one postulates that a priori, all states are equally probable. This is not true in the world as we see it. This world is not correctly described by the physics which assumes this postulate.
– Richard Feynman
Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
– Richard Feynman
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.
– Richard Feynman
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?
– Richard Feynman
There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It’s a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you ‘play’ with them!
– Richard Feynman
If you keep proving stuff that others have done, getting confidence, increasing the complexities of your solutions – for the fun of it – then one day you’ll turn around and discover that nobody actually did that one!
– Richard Feynman
I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way – by rote, or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!
– Richard Feynman
I think that when we know that we actually do live in uncertainty, then we ought to admit it; it is of great value to realize that we do not know the answers to different questions. This attitude of mind – this attitude of uncertainty – is vital to the scientist, and it is this attitude of mind which the student must first acquire.
– Richard Feynman
The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting: the part that doesn’t go according to what you expected.
– Richard Feynman
I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
– Richard Feynman
The most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth.
– Richard Feynman
See that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man.
– Richard Feynman
I practiced drawing all the time and became very interested in it. If I was at a meeting that wasn’t getting anywhere – like the one where Carl Rogers came to Caltech to discuss with us whether Caltech should develop a psychology department – I would draw the other people.
– Richard Feynman
Trying to understand the way nature works involves a most terrible test of human reasoning ability. It involves subtle trickery, beautiful tightropes of logic on which one has to walk in order not to make a mistake in predicting what will happen. The quantum mechanical and the relativity ideas are examples of this.
– Richard Feynman
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
– Richard Feynman
There is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics.
– Richard Feynman
Scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man’s struggle for good and evil seems inadequate.
– Richard Feynman
The most obvious characteristic of science is its application: the fact that, as a consequence of science, one has a power to do things. And the effect this power has had need hardly be mentioned. The whole industrial revolution would almost have been impossible without the development of science.
– Richard Feynman
The drawing teacher has this problem of communicating how to draw by osmosis and not by instruction, while the physics teacher has the problem of always teaching techniques, rather than the spirit, of how to go about solving physical problems.
– Richard Feynman
I want to marry Arline because I love her – which means I want to take care of her. That is all there is to it. I want to take care of her. I am anxious for the responsibilities and uncertainties of taking care of the girl I love.
– Richard Feynman
It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.
– Richard Feynman
The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life?
– Richard Feynman
It is a curious historical fact that modern quantum mechanics began with two quite different mathematical formulations: the differential equation of Schroedinger and the matrix algebra of Heisenberg. The two apparently dissimilar approaches were proved to be mathematically equivalent.
– Richard Feynman
If I get stuck, I look at a book that tells me how someone else did it. I turn the pages, and then I say, ‘Oh, I forgot that bit,’ then close the book and carry on. Finally, after you’ve figured out how to do it, you read how they did it and find out how dumb your solution is and how much more clever and efficient theirs is!
– Richard Feynman
Today, all physicists know from studying Einstein and Bohr that sometimes an idea which looks completely paradoxical at first, if analyzed to completion in all detail and in experimental situations, may, in fact, not be paradoxical.
– Richard Feynman
If you realize all the time what’s kind of wonderful – that is, if we expand our experience into wilder and wilder regions of experience – every once in a while, we have these integrations when everything’s pulled together into a unification, in which it turns out to be simpler than it looked before.
– Richard Feynman
The philosophical question before us is, when we make an observation of our track in the past, does the result of our observation become real in the same sense that the final state would be defined if an outside observer were to make the observation?
– Richard Feynman
I was a very shy character, always feeling uncomfortable because everybody was stronger than I, and always afraid I would look like a sissy. Everybody else played baseball; everybody else did all kinds of athletic things.
– Richard Feynman
From the point of view of basic physics, the most interesting phenomena are, of course, in the new places, the places where the rules do not work – not the places where they do work! That is the way in which we discover new rules.
– Richard Feynman
Once I get on a puzzle, I can’t get off.
– Richard Feynman