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In Brief: "The Meaning of It All"

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Richard Feynman’s The Meaning of It All (Addison-Wesley; $22) is essentially the late Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s tribute to himself. Subtitled “Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist,” the book falls categorically somewhere between Feynman’s numerous scientific publications and his brilliantly entertaining autobiography. Rather than expounding on the particulars of theoretical physics, Feynman waxes philosophical -- another thing he excelled at -- on subjects such as poverty, religion, and flying saucers, using them to illustrate the strengths and limitations of scientific thought. Closely based on a series of lectures, the text is full of fascinating if occasionally confusing digressions. Simply put, Feynman sounds like himself, which is a high compliment.


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