During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world.
In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.
This was an incurable disease at the time, and she was not expected to live more than two years.
Feynman seemed to possess a frightening ease with the substance behind the equations, like Albert Einstein at the same age, like the Soviet physicist Lev Landau—but few others.One of the conditions of Feynman's scholarship to Princeton was that he could not be married; but he continued to see his high school sweetheart, Arline Greenbaum, and was determined to marry her once he had been awarded his Ph. despite the knowledge that she was seriously ill with tuberculosis.Upon starting high school, Feynman was quickly promoted into a higher math class.A high-school-administered IQ test estimated his IQ at 125—high, but "merely respectable" according to biographer James Gleick.I recall looking at excerpts from a notebook Feynman kept while an undergraduate...
[it] contained a number of misspellings and grammatical errors. He created special symbols for logarithm, sine, cosine and tangent functions so they didn't look like three variables multiplied together, and for the derivative, to remove the temptation of canceling out the d's. We have no definite rule against Jews but like to keep their proportion in our department reasonably small".
His habit of direct characterization sometimes rattled more conventional thinkers; for example, one of his questions, when learning feline anatomy, was "Do you have a map of the cat? Although he originally majored in mathematics, he later switched to electrical engineering, as he considered mathematics to be too abstract. Attendees at Feynman's first seminar, which was on the classical version of the Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory, included Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli, and John von Neumann.
Noticing that he "had gone too far," he then switched to physics, which he claimed was "somewhere in between." Vallarta let his student in on a secret of mentor-protégé publishing: the senior scientist's name comes first. "You're the last word in cosmic rays." He attained a perfect score on the graduate school entrance exams to Princeton University in physics—an unprecedented feat—and an outstanding score in mathematics, but did poorly on the history and English portions. Pauli made the prescient comment that the theory would be extremely difficult to quantize, and Einstein said that one might try to apply this method to gravity in general relativity, His doctoral thesis applied the principle of stationary action to problems of quantum mechanics, inspired by a desire to quantize the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory of electrodynamics, laying the groundwork for the path integral formulation and Feynman diagrams, This was Richard Feynman nearing the crest of his powers. there was no physicist on earth who could match his exuberant command over the native materials of theoretical science.
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The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking, and who was always ready to teach Feynman something new.