RICHARD PHILLIPS FEYNMAN
The Pleasure of
Finding Things Out.
I am talking about atoms, I believe that someday we will
be able to handle and control them individually."1a
of the most promising hypotheses in all of biology is that
everything the animals do or that living creatures do can be
understood in terms of what atoms ca do, that is, in
terms of physical laws, ultimately, and perpetual
attention to this possibility -- so far no exception has been
demonstrated -- has again and again made suggestions as to how the
mechanisms actually occur. . . the world is so wonderful in
the sense that stars are made of the same atoms as the cows and as
ourselves, and as stones."1b
other thing that gives a scientific man the creeps in the world
today are the methods of choosing leaders -- in every
scientist is never certain."1d
. . . [A]ll
of the information that man has carefully accumulated in all
the books in the world can be written in this form in a cube of
material one two-hundredths of an inch wide . . ."1e
knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad --
but it does not carry instructions on how to use it."1f
is looking for patterns."1g
principle, the separation of the true from the false by
experiment or experience, that principle and the resultant
body of knowledge which is consistent with that principle. That
The Meaning of It All:
Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist.
obvious characteristic of science is its application, the fact
that as a consequence of science one has a power to
do things. . .
"Now this power to do things carries with it
instructions on how to use it, whether to use it for good
or for evil."2a
. . . [T]here
is nothing more exciting than the truth, the pay dirt of
the scientist, discovered by his painstaking efforts."2b
" . . . [O]bservation
is the ultimate and final judge of the truth of an idea.
But "prove" used in this way really means "test" . . ."2c
. . . 'The
exception proves that the rule is wrong.'
That is the principle of science. If there is an
exception to any rule, and if it can be proved by observation,
that rule is wrong."2d
"The rules that describe nature seem
to be mathematical. . . Why nature is mathematical is, again,
"All scientific knowledge is
. . . [I]t
turns out that falsehood and evil can be taught as easily as
"I would like to point out that
people are not honest. Scientists are not honest at all,
either. It's useless. Nobody's honest. . . By honest I
don't mean that you only tell what's true. But you make clear
the entire situation. You make clear all the information that
is required for somebody else who is intelligent to make up their
"It is marvelous, is it not, that
someone with no force can control someone with force."2i
Italics in the original.
Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988).
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.
Edited by Jeffrey Robbins. Foreword by Freeman Dyson. Carl Feynman
and Michelle Feynman, 1999. Reading, MA: Perseus Publishing.
Machines in the Future, at 45.
What Is and What Should Be the Role of Scientific Culture in
Modern Society, at 102.
c Ibid., at 109.
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom,
6. The Value of Science, at 142.
What Is Science?,
12. Richard Feynman Builds a Universe, at
The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist.
Michelle Feynman and
Carl Feynman, 1998. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.
Uncertainty of Science, at 5.
c Ibid., at 15.
Ibid., at 26.
Uncertainty of Values, at 31.
The Unscientific Age, at 106.
Ibid., at 119.