Richard Phillips Feynman, who died in 1988, was a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist who made invaluable contributions to the study of quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics and particle physics. He was also a rip-roaringly skilled storyteller.
Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman is a collection of conversations between Feynman and his long-time friend Ralph Leighton ranging from the atom bomb project to samba music. Irreverent and insightful, the conversations reveal a brilliant mind with views and interests far beyond what might be expected of a stuffy theoretical physicist. From mocking the hallowed institutions of science (including the Nobel prize) to anecdotes about how he avoided being drafted by the army, Feynman doesn’t flinch from deviating from the script of respectability that his work thrust on him.
The book, which was published over 30 years ago, has sold over 500,000 copies and was followed by an aptly-titled sequel, What Do You Care What Other People Think?
Published in 1985.