Einstein was a giant. His head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. But those of us who are not that tall have to choose!
No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.
By honest I don't mean that you only tell what's true. But you make clear the entire situation. You make clear all the information that is required for somebody else who is intelligent to make up their mind.
The imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man.
If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives.
My father left me his words. From them I remember both his outlook on life and his voice, positive, and clear. He was someone who didn't worry about small problems. His advice here--leave it; let it go-- is inspiring.
Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.
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.
The game I play is a very interesting one. It's imagination, in a tight straightjacket.
The game I play is a very interesting one. It's imagination in a straightjacket, which is this: that it has to agree with the known laws of physics. ... It requires imagination to think of what's possible, and then it requires an analysis back, checking to see whether it fits, whether its allowed, according to what's known, okay?
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.
I couldn't claim that I was smarter than sixty-five other guys -- but the average of sixty-five other guys, certainly!
The road to hell is paved with leeks and potatoes.
Energy is a very subtle concept. It is very, very difficult to get right.
It is necessary to look at the results of observation objectively, because you, the experimenter, might like one result better than another.
So my antagonist said, "Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it's impossible?" "No," I said, "I can't prove it's impossible. It's just very unlikely." At that he said, "You are very unscientific. If you can't prove it impossible then how can you say that it's unlikely?" But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.
It's amazing how many people even today use a computer to do something you can do with a pencil and paper in less time.
All the evidence, experimental and even a little theoretical, seems to indicate that it is the energy content which is involved in gravitation, and therefore, since matter and antimatter both represent positive energies, gravitation makes no distinction.
Today we say that the law of relativity is supposed to be true at all energies, but someday somebody may come along and say how stupid we were.
Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.
Once we were driving in the midwest and we pulled into a McDonald's. Someone came up to me and asked me why I have Feynman diagrams all over my van. I replied, "Because I am Feynman!" The young man went, "Ahhhhh!
We have been led to imagine all sorts of things infinitely more marvelous than the imagining of poets and dreamers of the past. It shows that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. For instance, how much more remarkable it is for us all to be stuck-half of us upside down-by a mysterious attraction, to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years, than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on a tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.
Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.
If someone were to propose that the planets go around the sun because all planet matter has a kind of tendency for movement, a kind of motility, let us call it an ‘oomph,' this theory could explain a number of other phenomena as well. So this is a good theory, is it not? No. It is nowhere near as good as the proposition that the planets move around the sun under the influence of a central force which varies exactly inversely as the square of the distance from the center. The second theory is better because it is so specific; it is so obviously unlikely to be the result of chance. It is so definite that the barest error in the movement can show that it is wrong; but the planets could wobble all over the place, and, according to the first theory, you could say, ‘Well, that is the funny behavior of the ‘oomph.
What I can't create I don't understand.
When I would hear the rabbi tell about some miracle such as a bush whose leaves were shaking but there wasn't any wind, I would try to fit the miracle into the real world and explain it in terms of natural phenomena.
A poet once said, "The whole universe is in a glass of wine." We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe.
A poet once said, "The whole universe is in a glass of wine." We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood... How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts - physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on - remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!
The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment.
The "paradox" is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality "ought to be.
Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
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.
Since then I never pay attention to anything by "experts." I calculate everything myself.
Teach principles not formulas.
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.
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.
We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work, although, there has been in these days, some interest in this kind of thing.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
To do any important work in physics a very good mathematical ability and aptitude are required. Some work in applications can be done without this, but it will not be very inspired. If you must satisfy your "personal curiosity concerning the mysteries of nature" what will happen if these mysteries turn out to be laws expressed in mathematical terms (as they do turn out to be)? You cannot understand the physical world in any deep or satisfying way without using mathematical reasoning with facility.
Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of the naïve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher's ideals are.
During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas -- which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn't work, to eliminate it. This method became organized, of course, into science.
You should not fool the laymen when you're talking as a scientist... . I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, an integrity that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.
It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but, with a little mathematical fiddling, you can show the relationship.
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.
Any schemes -- such as 'think of symmetry laws', or 'put the information in mathematical form', or 'guess equations'- are known to everybody now, and they are all tried all the time. When you are stuck, the answer cannot be one of these, because you will have tried these right away...The next scheme, the new discovery, is going to be made in a completely different way.
You ask me if an ordinary person--by studying hard--would get to be able to imagine these things like I imagine. Of course. I was an ordinary person who studied hard. There's no miracle people. It just happens they got interested in this thing, and they learned all this stuff. They're just people. There's no talent or special miracle ability to understand quantum mechanics or a miracle ability to imagine electromagnetic fields that comes without practice and reading and learning and study. So if you take an ordinary person who's willing to devote a great deal of time and study and work and thinking and mathematics, then he's become a scientist.
So this piece of dirt waits four and a half billion years and evolves and changes, and now a strange creature stands here with instruments and talks to the strange creatures in the audience. What a wonderful world!
When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt.
When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty - some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
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.
Gravitation is, so far, not understandable in terms of other phenomena.
Physics is to mathematics what sex is to masturbation.
Because atomic behavior is so unlike ordinary experience, it is very difficult to get used to, and it appears peculiar and mysterious to everyone -- both to the novice and to the experienced physicist.
Ordinarily it would take me about fifteen minutes to get a hallucination going, but on a few occasions, when I smoked some marijuana beforehand, it came very quickly.
What did you ASK at school today?
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
I, a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.
We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified -- how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
Astronomy is older than physics. In fact, it got physics started by showing the beautiful simplicity of the motion of the stars and planets, the understanding of which was the beginning of physics. But 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.
It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly.
When a photon comes down, it interacts with electrons throughout the glass, not just on the surface. The photon and electrons do some kind of dance, the net result of which is the same as if the photon hit only on the surface.
Never confuse education with intelligence, you can have a PhD and still be an idiot.
Nature...cannot be fooled!
The chance is high that the truth lies in the fashionable direction. But, on the off-chance that it is in another direction -- a direction obvious from an unfashionable view of field theory -- who will find it? Only someone who has sacrificed himself by teaching himself quantum electrodynamics from a peculiar and unusual point of view; one that he may have to invent for himself.
No man is rich who is unsatisfied, but who wants nothing possess his heart's desire.
On the contrary, it's because somebody knows something about it that we can't talk about physics . It's the things that nobody knows anything about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance gold transfers we can't talk about, because those are understood so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about!
If all of mathematics disappeared, physics would be set back by exactly one week.
Today's brains are yesterday's mashed potatoes.
What do you care what other people think?
This is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided the men that made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, and tossed out if necessary, with more new ideas brought in--a trial and error system.
I have a friend who's an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don't agree with. He'll hold up a flower and say, "Look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. But then he'll say, "I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull." I think he's kind of nutty. ... There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
The only way to deep happiness is to do something you love to the best of your ability.
No! Not for a second! I immediately began to think how this could have happened. And I realized that the clock was old and was always breaking. That the clock probably stopped some time before and the nurse coming in to the room to record the time of death would have looked at the clock and jotted down the time from that. I never made any supernatural connection, not even for a second. I just wanted to figure out how it happened.
The most important thing I found out from my father is that if you asked any question and pursued it deeply enough, then at the end there was a glorious discovery of a general and beautiful kind.
I don't understand what it's all about or what's worth what, but if the people in the Swedish Academy decide that x, y or z wins the Nobel Prize, then so be it.
Nature has a great simplicity and therefore a great beauty.
When you're thinking about something that you don't understand, you have a terrible, uncomfortable feeling called confusion... Now, is the confusion's because we're all some kind of apes that are kind of stupid working against this, trying to figure out how to put the two sticks together to reach the banana and we can't quite make it... So I always feel stupid. Once in a while, though, the sticks go together on me and I reach the banana.
First you guess. Don't laugh, this is the most important step. Then you compute the consequences. Compare the consequences to experience. If it disagrees with experience, the guess is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it's wrong. That's all there is to it.
I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell. Possibly. It doesn't frighten me.
Once I get on a puzzle, I can't get off.
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.
Perhaps one day we will have machines that can cope with approximate task descriptions, but in the meantime, we have to be very prissy about how we tell computers to do things.
Because the theory of quantum mechanics could explain all of chemistry and the various properties of substances, it was a tremendous success. But still there was the problem of the interaction of light and matter.
Some things that satisfy the rules of algebra can be interesting to mathematicians even though they don't always represent a real situation.
Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this.
Of course, I am interested, but I would not dare to talk about them. 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. In these days of specialization there are too few people who have such a deep understanding of two departments of our knowledge that they do not make fools of themselves in one or the other.
We've learned from experience that the truth will out.
We've learned from experience that the truth will out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in Cargo Cult Science.
Computer science is not as old as physics; it lags by a couple of hundred years. However, this does not mean that there is significantly less on the computer scientist's plate than on the physicist's: younger it may be, but it has had a far more intense upbringing!
So far as we know, all the fundamental laws of physics, like Newton's equations, are reversible.
What do I advise? Forget it all. Don't be afraid. Do what you get the most pleasure from. Is it to build a cloud chamber? Then go on doing things like that. Develop your talents wherever they may lead. Damn the torpedoes -- full speed ahead!If you have any talent,or any occupation that delights you,do it, and do it to the hilt.
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.
Before I was born, my father told my mother, 'If it's a boy, he's going to be a scientist.'
If we have an atom that is in an excited state and so is going to emit a photon, we cannot say when it will emit the photon. It has a certain amplitude to emit the photon at any time, and we can predict only a probability for emission; we cannot predict the future exactly.
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.
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.
This is the key of modern science and is the beginning of the true understanding of nature. This idea. That to look at the things, to record the details, and to hope that in the information thus obtained, may lie a clue to one or another of a possible theoretical interpretation.
It is the fact that the electrons cannot all get on top of each other that makes tables and everything else solid.
Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad -- but it does not carry instructions on how to use it.
Experiment is the sole judge of the validity of any idea.
If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize.
If you don't like it, go somewhere else, to another universe where the rules are simpler.
Listen, I mean that from my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.
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.
It is impossible to explain honestly the beauties of the laws of nature in a way that people can feel, without their having some deep understanding of mathematics. I am sorry, but this seems to be the case.
The test of all knowledge is experiment.
The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific truth.
The extreme weakness of quantum gravitational effects now poses some philosophical problems; maybe nature is trying to tell us something new here: maybe we should not try to quantize gravity.
A very great deal more truth can become known than can be proven.
I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously… The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. It is not an attempt to violate any laws; it is something, in principle, that can be done; but in practice, it has not been done because we are too big.
Agnostic for me would be trying to weasel out and sound a little nicer than I am about this.
We cannot define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into the paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers, who sit opposite each other, one saying to the other, "You don't know what you are talking about!" The second one says, "What do you mean by know? What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you?
It's the way I study -- to understand something by trying to work it out or, in other words, to understand something by creating it. Not creating it one hundred percent, of course; but taking a hint as to which direction to go but not remembering the details. These you work out for yourself.
Light is something like raindrops each little lump of light is called a photon and if the light is all one color, all the "raindrops" are the same.
If there is something very slightly wrong in our definition of the theories, then the full mathematical rigor may convert these errors into ridiculous conclusions.
Physics is not the most important thing. Love is.
Until I began to learn to draw, I was never much interested in looking at art.
We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.
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.
The present situation in physics is as if we know chess, but we don't know one or two rules.
We do not know where to look, or what to look for, when something is memorized. We do not know what it means, or what change there is in the nervous system, when a fact is learned. This is a very important problem which has not been solved at all.
One cannot understand... the universality of laws of nature, the relationship of things, without an understanding of mathematics. There is no other way to do it.
Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.
The exception tests the rule.
I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.
I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.
Is science of any value? I think a power to do something is of value. Whether the result is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how it is used, but the power is a value.
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.
I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.
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!
My friends and I had taken dancing lessons, although none of us would ever admit it. In those depression days, a friend of my mother was trying to make a living by teaching dancing in the evening, in an upstairs dance studio. There was a back door to the place, and she arranged it so the young men could come up through the back way without being seen.
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.
All theoretical chemistry is really physics; and all theoretical chemists know it.
The first amazing fact about gravitation is that the ratio of inertial mass to gravitational mass is constant wherever we have checked it. The second amazing thing about gravitation is how weak it is.
Science is uncertain.
But there is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death.
When it came time for me to give my talk on the subject, I started off by drawing an outline of the cat and began to name the various muscles.
The other students in the class interrupt me: "We *know* all that!" "Oh," I say, "you *do*? Then no *wonder* I can catch up with you so fast after you've had four years of biology." They had wasted all their time memorizing stuff like that, when it could be looked up in fifteen minutes.
So, ultimately, in order to understand nature it may be necessary to have a deeper understanding of mathematical relationships. But the real reason is that the subject is enjoyable, and although we humans cut nature up in different ways, and we have different courses in different departments, such compartmentaliz ation is really artificial, and we should take our intellectual pleasures where we find them.
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.
If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar.
The shell game that we play ... is technically called 'renormalization'. But no matter how clever the word, it is still what I would call a dippy process! Having to resort to such hocus-pocus has prevented us from proving that the theory of quantum electrodynamics is mathematically self-consistent. It's surprising that the theory still hasn't been proved self-consistent one way or the other by now; I suspect that renormalization is not mathematically legitimate.
No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.
If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.
Things on a very small scale behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about. They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen.
We are very lucky to be living in an age in which we are still making discoveries. It is like the discovery of America-you only discover it once. The age in which we live is the age in which we are discovering the fundamental laws of nature, and that day will never come again. It is very exciting, it is marvelous, but this excitement will have to go.
What I cannot create, I do not understand.
Don't pay attention to "authorities," think for yourself.
What one fool can understand, another can.
No one really understands quantum mechanics.
The universe is very large, and its boundaries are not known very well, but it is still possible to define some kind of a radius to be associated with it.
To decide upon the answer is not scientific. In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar ajar only.
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!
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! And that's the way to become a computer scientist.
Observation, reason, and experiment make up what we call the scientific method.
I think, however, that there isn't any solution to this problem of education other than to realize that the best teaching can be done only when there is a direct individual relationship between a student and a good teacher -- a situation in which the student discusses the ideas, thinks about the things, and talks about the things. It's impossible to learn very much by simply sitting in a lecture, or even by simply doing problems that are assigned. But in our modern times we have so many students to teach that we have to try to find some substitute for the ideal.
Nature isn't classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you'd better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it's a wonderful problem, because it doesn't look so easy.
Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter.
Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all.
I returned to civilization shortly after that and went to Cornell to teach, and my first impression was a very strange one. I can't understand it any more, but I felt very strongly then. I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth... How far from here was 34th street?... All those buildings, all smashed -- and so on. And I would go along and I would see people building a bridge, or they'd be making a new road, and I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless.
But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead.
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!
I am a successful lecturer in physics for popular audiences. The real entertainment gimmick is the excitement, drama and mystery of the subject matter. People love to learn something, they are 'entertained' enormously by being allowed to understand a little bit of something they never understood before. One must have faith in the subject and in people's interest in it.
You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.
if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity--and until they do (and find the cure), all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.
Once you have a computer that can do a few things -- strictly speaking, one that has a certain 'sufficient set' of basic procedures -- it can do basically anything any other computer can do. This, loosely, is the basis of the great principle of 'Universality'.
All the time you're saying to yourself, 'I could do that, but I won't,' -- which is just another way of saying that you can't.
Tell your son to stop trying to fill your head with science -- for to fill your heart with love is enough!
Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best.
I learned from her that every woman is worried about her looks, no matter how beautiful she is.
Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.
We're always, by the way, in fundamental physics, always trying to investigate those things in which we don't understand the conclusions. After we've checked them enough, we're okay.
To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.
There is always another way to say the same thing that doesn't look at all like the way you said it before. I don't know what the reason for this is. I think it is somehow a representation of the simplicity of nature.
From a long view of the history of mankind the most significant event of the nineteenth century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.
From a long view of the history of mankind, seen from, say, ten thousand years from now, there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics. The American Civil War will pale into provincial insignificance in comparison with this important scientific event of the same decade.
Scientists are explorers. Philosophers are tourists.
I don't like honors. I'm appreciated for the work that I did, and for people who appreciate it, and I notice that other physicists use my work. I don't need anything else. I don't think there's any sense to anything else.... I've already got the prize. The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it. Those are the real things. The honors are unreal to me. I don't believe in honors... I can't stand it, it hurts me.
When I found out that Santa Claus wasn't real, I wasn't upset; rather, I was relieved that there was a much simpler phenomenon to explain how so many children all over the world got presents on the same night! The story had been getting pretty complicated -- it was getting out of hand.
So I have just one wish for you -- the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.
I think equation guessing might be the best method to proceed to obtain the laws for the part of physics which is presently unknown. Yet, when I was much younger, I tried this equation guessing, and I have seen many students try this, but it is very easy to go off in wildly incorrect and impossible directions.
Math may permit wildly different apparent starting points.
Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is -- absurd.
People often think I'm a faker, but I'm usually honest, in a certain way -- in such a way that often nobody believes me!
The other thing that gives a scientific man the creeps in the world today are the methods of choosing leaders -- in every nation. Today, for example, in the United States, the two political parties have decided to employ public relations men, that is, advertising men, who are trained in the necessary methods of telling the truth or lying in order to develop a product.
When a Caltech student asked the eminent cosmologist Michael Turner what his "bias" was in favoring one or another particle as a likely candidate to compromise dark matter in the universe, Feynmann snapped, "Why do you want to know his bias? Form your own bias!
Unless a thing can be defined by measurement, it has no place in a theory. And since an accurate value of the momentum of a localized particle cannot be defined by measurement it therefore has no place in the theory.
You can't say A is made of B or vice versa. All mass is interaction.
We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt.
I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world.
It has been discovered that all the world is made of the same atoms, that the stars are of the same stuff as ourselves. It then becomes a question of where our stuff came from. Not just where did life come from, or where did the earth come from, but where did the stuff of life and of the earth come from?
The only way to have real success in science, the field I'm familiar with, is to describe the evidence very carefully without regard to the way you feel it should be. If you have a theory , you must try to explain what's good and what's bad about it equally. In science, you learn a kind of standard integrity and honesty .
The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, and tossed out if necessary, with
more new ideas brought in -- a trial and error system.
What is necessary for 'the very existence of science,' and what the characteristics of nature are, are not to be determined by pompous preconditions, they are determined always by the material with which we work, by nature herself. We look, and we see what we find, and we cannot say ahead of time successfully what it is going to look like. ... It is necessary for the very existence of science that minds exist which do not allow that nature must satisfy some preconceived conditions.
We're so used to circumstances in which these electrical phenomena are all canceled out, everything is sort of neutral, where pushing and pulling is sort of dull, but nature has these wonderful things: magnetic forces and electrical forces.
The original reason to start the project, which was that the Germans were a danger, started me off on a process of action, which was to try to develop this first system at Princeton and then at Los Alamos, to try to make the bomb work.
When I was a young man, Dirac was my hero. He made a breakthrough, a new method of doing physics. He had the courage to simply guess at the form of an equation, the equation we now call the Dirac equation, and to try to interpret it afterwards.
We get the exciting result that the total energy of the universe is zero. Why this should be so is one of the great mysteries -- and therefore one of the important questions of physics. After all, what would be the use of studying physics if the mysteries were not the most important things to investigate?
Atoms are very special: they like certain particular partners, certain particular directions, and so on. It is the job of physics to analyze why each one wants what it wants.
I learned a lot of different things from different schools. MIT is a very good place…. It has developed for itself a spirit, so that every member of the whole place thinks that it's the most wonderful place in the world--it's the center, somehow, of scientific and technological development in the United States, if not the world … and while you don't get a good sense of proportion there, you do get an excellent sense of being with it and in it, and having motivation and desire to keep on.
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.
You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things... It doesn't frighten me.
I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring.
Words can be meaningless. If they are used in such a way that no sharp conclusions can be drawn.