I was not too sure of what to expect when I first picked up ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman’, the autobiography of professor, physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. Having read it, I can now say that it definitely was not something I would have expected a scientist to write. Instead of being just a list of chronological events and facts about science, the book was more like a series of short, personal, even funny stories of his experiences as a child, at college and graduate school, working on the nuclear bomb at Los Alamos and much more.
As someone interested in studying engineering at college, I was fascinated by Feynman’s love of the sciences. It is clear that he was passionate about science since he was a young boy, and his logical mind-set and undying curiosity were qualities that stayed with him his whole life. Being a specialist in theoretical physics did not prevent him from dabbling in other fields – he took courses in biology and philosophy, and was even “chief research chemist” at a 4-man company metal-plating plastics. Apart from his academic interests, he also learnt how to crack safes, play the drums, draw, paint and speak several different languages. Although Feynman was an extraordinary case, this goes to show how much one can achieve if they really put their mind to it.