Below are some of my favorite quotations
from Richard Feynman. I hope you like them.


What's your area?
Now you may ask, "What is mathematics doing in a physics
lecture?"  We have several possible excuses: first, of
course, mathematics is an important tool, but that would
only excuse us for giving the formula in two minutes.  On
the other hand, in theoretical physics we discover that all
our laws can be written in mathematical form; and that
this has a certain simplicity and beauty about it.  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 compartmentalization is really artificial, and we
should take our intellectual pleasures where we find them.

	-- The Feynman Lectures on Physics - Vol. 1 (Algebra)

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On teaching and research
   In any thinking process there are moments when everything is going
good and you've got wonderful ideas.  Teaching is an interruption,
and so it's the greatest pain in the neck in the world.  And then
there are the longer periods of time when not much is coming
to you.  You're not getting any ideas, and if you're doing nothing at all,
it drives you nuts!  You can't even say, "I'm teaching my class."
   If you're teaching a class, you can think about the elementary things
that you know so very well.  These things are kind of fun and delightful.
It doesn't do any harm to think of them over again.  Is there a better
way to present them?  The elementary things are easy to think
about; if you can't think of a new thought, no harm done; what you thought
about it before is good enough for the class.  If you do think of something
new, you're rather pleased that you have a new way of looking at it.
   The questions of the students are often the source of new research.
They often ask profound questions that I've thought about at times and
then give up on, so to speak, for a while.  It wouldn't do any harm to think
about them again and see if I can go any further now.  The students may
not be able to see the things I want to answer, or the subtleties I want to
think about, but they remind me of a problem by asking questions in the
neighborhood of that problem.  It's not so easy to remind yourself of
these things.
   So I find that teaching and the students keep life going, and I would never
accept any position in which somebody has invented a happy situation for me
where I don't have to teach.  Never.

      -- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (The Dignified Professor)

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On research programs
	Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I
used to enjoy physics.  Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it.  I used
to do whatever I felt like doing - it didn't have to do with whether it
was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it
was interesting and amusing for me to play with.  When I was in high
school, I'd see water running out of a faucet growing narrower, and
wonder if I could figure what determines that curve.  I found it was
rather easy to do. I didn't have to do it; it wasn't important for the
future of science; somebody else had already done it.  This didn't make
any difference: I'd invent things and play with things.
	So I got this new attitude.  Now that I am burned out and I'll never
accomplish anything, I've got this nice position at the university
teaching classes which I rather enjoy, and just like I read the Arabian
Nights for pleasure, I'm going to play with physics, whenever I want to,
without worrying about importance whatsoever.
	Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around,
throws a plate in the air.  As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble,
and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around.
It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than
the wobbling.
	I had nothing to do, so I start to figure out the motion of the rotating
plate.  I discovered that when the angle is very slight, the medallion
rotates twice as fast as the wobble rate  -  two to one.  It came out of
a complicated equation!  Then I thought, "Is there some way I can see in
a more fundamental way, by looking at the forces or the dynamics, why
it's two to one?
	I don't remember how I did it, but I ultimately worked out what the
motion of the mass particles is, and how all the accelerations balance
to make it two to one.
	I still remember going to Hans Bethe and saying, "Hey, Hans!  I noticed
something interesting.  Here the plate goes around so, and the reason it's
two to one is ... " and I showed him the accelerations.
	He says, "Feynman, that's pretty interesting, but what's the importance
of it?  Why are you doing it?"
	"Hah!" I say.  "There's no importance whatsoever.  I'm just doing it for
the fun of it."  His reaction didn't discourage me; I had made up my mind
I was going to enjoy physics and do whatever I liked.
	I went on to work out equations of wobbles.  Then I thought about how
electron orbits start to move in relativity.  Then there's the Dirac
Equation in electrodynamics.  And then quantum electrodynamics.  And
before I knew it (it was a very short time)  I was "playing" - working,
really - with the same old problem that I loved so much, that I had stopped
working on when I went to Los Alamos: my thesis-type problems; all those
old-fashioned, wonderful things.
	It was effortless.  It was easy to play with these things.  It was like
uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly.  I almost tried to
resist it!  There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately
there was.  The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize
for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate.

      -- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (The Dignified Professor)

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Giving seminars
	Now that we had got the classical theory right, Wheeler said,
"Feynman, you're a young fella - you should give a seminar on this. 
You need experience in giving talks.  Meanwhile, I'll work out the
quantum theory part and give a seminar on that later.
	So it was my first technical talk, and Wheeler made arrangements
with Eugene Wigner to put it on the regular seminar schedule.
	A day or two before the talk I saw Wigner in the hall. "Feynman,"
he said, "I think that work you're doing with Wheeler is very
interesting, so I've invited Russell to the seminar."  Henry Norris
Russell, the famous, great astronomer of the day, was coming to the
lecture!
	Wigner went on.  "I think Professor von Neumann would also be
interested.  "Johnny von Neumann was the greatest mathematician
around.  "And Professor Pauli is visiting from Switzerland, so it
happens, so I've invited Professor Pauli to come" - Pauli was a very
famous physicist - and by this time I'm turning yellow.  Finally,
Wigner said, "Professor Einstein only rarely comes to our weekly
seminars, but your work is so interesting that I've invited him
specially, so he's coming too."
	So I prepared the talk, and when the day came, I went in and did
something that young men who have had no experience in giving talks
often do - I put too many equations up on the blackboard.  You see, a
young fella doesn't know how to say, "Of course, that varies inversely,
and this goes this way . . . " because everybody listening already
knows; they can see it.  But he  doesn't know.  He can only make
it come out by actually doing the algebra - and therefore the reams
of equations.
	As I was writing these equations all over the blackboard ahead of
time, Einstein came in and said pleasantly, "Hello, I'm coming to your
seminar.  But first, where is the tea?"  I told him, and continued
writing the equations.
	Then the time came to give the talk, and here are these monster minds 
in front of me, waiting!  I remember very clearly seeing my hands
shaking as they were pulling out my notes from a brown envelope.
	But then a miracle occurred, as it has occurred again and again in
my life, and it's very lucky for me:  the moment I start to think about
the physics, and have to concentrate on what I'm explaining, nothing
else occupies by mind - I'm completely immune to being nervous.  So
after I started to go, I just didn't know who was in the room.  I was
only explaining the idea, that's all.

          	-- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (Monster Minds)

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