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Title:

Richard P Feynman: The Character of Physical Law

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Richard Feynman: The Character of Physical Law

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In the Messenger Lectures, originally delivered at Cornell University, Feynman offers an overview of selected physical laws & gathers their common features into one broad principle of invariance. He maintains at the outset that the importance of a physical law isn't how clever we are to have found it out, but...how clever nature is to pay attention to it & tends his discussions toward a final exposition of the elegance & simplicity of all scientific laws. Rather than an essay on the most significant achievements in modern science, The Character of Physical Law is a statement of what is most remarkable in nature. His enlightened approach, wit & enthusiasm make this a memorable exposition of the scientist's craft. The Law of Gravitation is the principal example. Relating the details of its discovery & stressing its mathematical character, he uses it to demonstrate the essential interaction of mathematics & physics. He views mathematics as the key to any system of scientific laws, suggesting that if it were possible to fill out the structure of scientific theory completely, the result would be an integrated set of axioms. The principles of conservation, symmetry & time-irreversibility are then considered in relation to developments in classical & modern physics. In his final lecture he develops his own analysis of the process & future of scientific discovery. Like any set of oral reflections, The Character of Physical Law has value as a demonstration of a mind in action. The reader is particularly lucky in Feynman. One of the most eminent & imaginative modern physicists, he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology until his death in 1988. He's best known for work on the quantum theory of the electromagnetic field, as well as for later research in the field of low-temperature physics. In 1954 he received the Albert Einstein Award for an outstanding contribution to knowledge in mathematical & physical sciences; in 1965 he was appointed to Foreign Membership in the Royal Society & was awarded the Nobel Prize

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