Richard Phillips Feynman
By: Davsb907

Richard Feynman.jpg

Early Life

Richard Feynman was born in Manhattan, New York on May 11, 1918. As a child Feynman was really interested in physics and mathematics. He later became known as “The boy who fixed radios by thinking”. He went to undergraduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939. He received his PhD at Princeton in 1942 under the supervision of John wheeler. Later during World War II while Feynman was working on a bomb, his wife, Arlene died.

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Map of New York, Feynman's birth state.


Richard Feynman was a physicist. He was put on a team to work on the Atomic bomb during WWII when Albert Einstein warned President Roosevelt that the Germans were working on an atomic bomb. The code name for the project was “The Manhattan Project”. Every scientist was isolated from one another, which worried J Robert Oppenheimer. He thought that isolation might jeopardize the project. He convinced President Roosevelt to build a new lab in Los Almos, California which was the perfect place for the bomb to get tested. Roosevelt agreed and built the new lab. Feynman worked in the lab in Los Alamos under the supervision of Hans Bethe. The first time they tested the Atom bomb it made an explosion equal to 2,000 sticks of dynamite.

Richard Feynman moved to Cornell University after WWII to work on his own approach to quantum electrodynamics (QED). In 1950 he moved to the California Institute of Technology. He shared the Nobel Prize twice. Once with Sin-ltiro Tomonaga, and the other time with Julian Schwinger. Each of the three men had their own way to calculate the movement of photons, electrons, and positrons (Parts of an Atom). Feynman wrote quite a few books about his discoveries; one of his most popular books was “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”.

Picture of atom bomb
Diagram of atom bomb


In 1986 Feynman was asked to serve on the presidential commission to investigate the explosion of The Challenger space shuttle. Feynman found that the O-ring seals were the cause of the explosion. His research showed that when temperatures were below freezing (which they were on the morning of the launch) the O-ring seals would lose their elasticity. Looking through papers he saw that the NASA officials had been warned of this potential failure. He ran a test by placing the O-ring seals in ice water for a couple minutes and it showed that for several seconds after their removal they lost their resilience. Feynman realized that the commission would not blatantly lie, but they might not be as interested in the truth as they should. Before they published his report he threatened to resign, to make sure that they would publish it and not let it get mixed up with lies.


Richard Phillips Feynman died on February 15, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. He will always be remembered for his great discoveries, and work.

Fun Facts

  • Richard Feynman got a perfect score on the entrance exam to Princeton.
  • He was in classes with great scientists such as Albert Einstein.
  • His wife died from tuberculosis.
  • He taught himself lots of things through research and reading.


Daintith, John, ed. “Feynman, Richards”. Growler Library of Science Biographies. Volume 3. Danburg: Growler, 1997. Print.

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[Image.] September 18, 2013. Web.

[Image.] September 19, 2013

J Eric Slone/Scott Scarter. “Feynman Online.” Feynman Online. Scientific Consulting Services International, 1997. Web. September 10, 2013.

“Know Your Scientist: Richard Feynman.” From Quarks to Quasars. WordPress , January 27, 2013. Web. September 23, 2013.

"Richard Phillips Feynman." Britannica School.Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 5 Sep. 2013. <>.

Roger Smith. ‘Tisza Explains Superfluidity.” Great Scientific Achievements. Volume 12. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1997. Print.

Richard Feynman Manhattan Project.jpg
Atom bomb explosion