52 of Richard Feynman’s Best Quotes

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Richard Feynman was an American theoretical physicist who was born in May in New York and passed away in Los Angeles a day after Valentine’s Day at the age of 69 in the year 1988. He has long been described in his field as one of the best because of his influence and brilliance. He studied at both the Massachusetts Institution of Technology and also at Princeton University, where he ultimately received his Ph.D. in 1942.

Feynman’s life was dedicated to science, mainly the studying of quantum electrodynamics. Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is a theory that describes the interaction between matter and light or atoms and photons. Feynman revised this theory forever changing how the world of science comprehends the nature of particles and waves. Although Feynman’s theory had the most originality, he was co-awarded the Nobel Prize with Tomonaga Shin’ichirō and Julian S. Schwinger in Physics in 1965.

Richard Feynman Quotes

  1. “Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.” – Richard P. Feynman
  2. “A philosopher once said, ‘It is necessary for the very existence of science that the same conditions always produce the same results’. Well, they don’t!” – Richard P. Feynman
  3. “The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.” – Richard Feynman
  4. “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” – Richard P. Feynman
  5. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard P. Feynman
  6. “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” – Richard Feynman
  7. “All things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence … there is an enormous amount of information about the world.” – Richard Feynman
  8. “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy — and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter.” – Richard Feynman
  9. “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” – Richard P. Feynman
  10. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard P. Feynman
  11. “Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.” – Richard P. Feynman
  12. “As usual, nature’s imagination far surpasses our own, as we have seen from the other theories which are subtle and deep.” – Richard P. Feynman
  13. “A great deal more is known than has been proved.” – Richard Feynman
  14. “If you can’t explain something to a first year student, then you haven’t really understood.” – Richard P. Feynman
  15. “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.” – Richard P. Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character
  16. “Astronomy is older than physics. In fact, it got physics started by showing the beautiful simplicity of the motion of the stars and planets, the understanding of which was the beginning of physics. But the most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth.” – Richard P. Feynman
  17. “God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand.” – Richard Feynman
  18. “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” – Richard P. Feynman
  19. “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.” – Richard P. Feynman
  20. “I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” – Richard P. Feynman
  21. “Before I was born, my father told my mother, “If it’s a boy, he’s going to be a scientist.” – Richard P. Feynman
  22. “There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.” – Richard Feynman
  23. “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” – Richard P. Feynman
  24. “I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.” – Richard P. Feynman
  25. “I… a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.” – Richard P. Feynman
  26. “But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe within any purpose, which is the way it really is, so far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.” – Richard P. Feynman
  27. “Listen, buddy, if I could tell you in a minute what I did, it wouldn’t be worth the Nobel Prize.” – Richard Feynman
  28. “If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.” – Richard P. Feynman
  29. “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard P. Feynman
  30. “The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.” – Richard P. Feynman
  31. “But the real glory of science is that we can find a way of thinking such that the law is evident.” – Richard P. Feynman
  32. “What I cannot create, I do not understand.” – Richard Feynman
  33. “Don’t pay attention to ‘authorities,’ think for yourself.” – Richard P. Feynman
  34. “If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize.” – Richard P. Feynman
  35. “Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is.” – Richard P. Feynman
  36. “Einstein was a giant. His head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. Those of us who are not so tall have to choose!” – Richard P. Feynman
  37. “I don’t know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.” – Richard Feynman
  38. “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” – Richard P. Feynman
  39. “The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life?” – Richard P. Feynman
  40. “I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.” – Richard P. Feynman
  41. “Everything is made of atoms … Everything that animals do, atoms do. … There is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics.” – Richard P. Feynman
  42. “Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman
  43. “You do not know anything until you have practiced.” – Richard P. Feynman
  44. “First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense.” – Richard P. Feynman
  45. “I’m smart enough to know that I’m dumb.” – Richard Feynman
  46. “For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy.” – Richard P. Feynman
  47. “I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding, they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!” – Richard Feynman
  48. “Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.” – Richard P. Feynman
  49. “We need to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed. It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know.’” – Richard P. Feynman
  50. “I thought one should have the attitude of ‘What do you care what other people think!’” – Richard P. Feynman
  51. “All the time you’re saying to yourself, ‘I could do that, but I won’t,’ — which is just another way of saying that you can’t.” – Richard P. Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character
  52. “I would like to be rather more special, and I would like to be understood in an honest way rather than in a vague way.” – Richard P. Feynman

Summary

At least four books, one opera and one play were written by or about Richard Feynman and his discoveries, inventions and additions to the world of science and how it is studied. Whether you’re quoting him for a school project or you’re an aspiring physicist yourself, these quotes of his are sure to inspire you.

If you’re a teacher looking for a motivational quote to present to your students, these quotes will provide that. Richard Feynman was and continues to be a major influence, inspiration and motivation to scientists, and physicists all over the world.

Richard Feynman Video – The Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman was a physicist who received a Nobel prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics. He was notorious for asking others to explain concepts in simple language to test their understanding.

In this fun and entertaining video, you will learn a 3 step process that is Feynman’s unique method for learning new things! It’s really cool and simple and you can start applying it today to improve your life!

Once you watch the video, you will be able to explain an idea with simple language and create graphic analogies, you have deeply understood it and will remember it for a long time.

 

 

Image Credit: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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