Saturday, May 07, 2005

All Too Human

"WHILE his spoken memoirs burnished the popular impression of [the physicist Richard P.] Feynman as the merry prankster, the letters here imply he grew tired of that image. To a Swedish letter writer who had apparently suggested that playing the bongo drums made a physicist ''human,'' he replied: ''Theoretical physics is a human endeavor, one of the higher developments of human beings -- and this perpetual desire to prove that people who do it are human by showing that they do other things that a few other humans do (like playing bongo drums) is insulting to me. I am human enough to tell you to go to hell.'' (Excerpt from Kate Zernicke's review of a book on Feynman's letters, The New York Times).


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