53 Quotes of Richard P. Feynman About Quantum Mechanics

” The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. “
” 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. “
” 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. “
” I think that when we know that we actually do live in uncertainty, then we ought to admit it; it is of great value to realize that we do not know the answers to different questions. This attitude of mind – this attitude of uncertainty – is vital to the scientist, and it is this attitude of mind which the student must first acquire. “
” The internal machinery of life, the chemistry of the parts, is something beautiful. And it turns out that all life is interconnected with all other life. “
” Europeans are much more serious than we are in America because they think that a good place to discuss intellectual matters is a beer party. “
” 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. “
” Physics has a history of synthesizing many phenomena into a few theories. “
” We do not know what the rules of the game are; all we are allowed to do is to watch the playing. Of course, if we watch long enough, we may eventually catch on to a few of the rules. The rules of the game are what we mean by fundamental physics. “
” It is a curious historical fact that modern quantum mechanics began with two quite different mathematical formulations: the differential equation of Schroedinger and the matrix algebra of Heisenberg. The two apparently dissimilar approaches were proved to be mathematically equivalent. “
” It is a curious historical fact that modern quantum mechanics began with two quite different mathematical formulations: the differential equation of Schroedinger and the matrix algebra of Heisenberg. The two apparently dissimilar approaches were proved to be mathematically equivalent. “
” See that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. “
” I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there. “
” If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize. “
” For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. “
” If you realize all the time what’s kind of wonderful – that is, if we expand our experience into wilder and wilder regions of experience – every once in a while, we have these integrations when everything’s pulled together into a unification, in which it turns out to be simpler than it looked before. “
” It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man. “
” We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. “
” Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. “
” The most obvious characteristic of science is its application: the fact that, as a consequence of science, one has a power to do things. And the effect this power has had need hardly be mentioned. The whole industrial revolution would almost have been impossible without the development of science. “
” Scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man’s struggle for good and evil seems inadequate. “
” In any decision for action, when you have to make up your mind what to do, there is always a ‘should’ involved, and this cannot be worked out from, ‘If I do this, what will happen?’ alone. “
” When I would hear the rabbi tell about some miracle such as a bush whose leaves were shaking but there wasn’t any wind, I would try to fit the miracle into the real world and explain it in terms of natural phenomena. “
” Once I get on a puzzle, I can’t get off. “
” Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea. “
” 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. “
” There is always another way to say the same thing that doesn’t look at all like the way you said it before. I don’t know what the reason for this is. I think it is somehow a representation of the simplicity of nature. “
” I was a very shy character, always feeling uncomfortable because everybody was stronger than I, and always afraid I would look like a sissy. Everybody else played baseball; everybody else did all kinds of athletic things. “
” The first amazing fact about gravitation is that the ratio of inertial mass to gravitational mass is constant wherever we have checked it. The second amazing thing about gravitation is how weak it is. “
” In the Raphael Room, the secret turned out to be that only some of the paintings were made by the great master; the rest were made by students. I had liked the ones by Raphael. This was a big jab for my self-confidence in my ability to appreciate art. “
” I want to marry Arline because I love her – which means I want to take care of her. That is all there is to it. I want to take care of her. I am anxious for the responsibilities and uncertainties of taking care of the girl I love. “
” Investigating the forces that hold the nuclear particles together was a long task. “
” You’re unlikely to discover something new without a lot of practice on old stuff, but further, you should get a heck of a lot of fun out of working out funny relations and interesting things. “
” I decided to sell my drawings. However, I didn’t want people to buy my drawings because the professor of physics isn’t supposed to be able to draw – isn’t that wonderful – so I made up a false name. “
” It is always good to know which ideas cannot be checked directly, but it is not necessary to remove them all. It is not true that we can pursue science completely by using only those concepts which are directly subject to experiment. “
” 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? “
” Things on a very small scale behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about. They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen. “
” I thought one should have the attitude of ‘What do you care what other people think!’ “
” 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! “
” Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? “
” Trying to understand the way nature works involves a most terrible test of human reasoning ability. It involves subtle trickery, beautiful tightropes of logic on which one has to walk in order not to make a mistake in predicting what will happen. The quantum mechanical and the relativity ideas are examples of this. “
” With the exception of gravitation and radioactivity, all of the phenomena known to physicists and chemists in 1911 have their ultimate explanation in the laws of quantum electrodynamics. “
” The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting: the part that doesn’t go according to what you expected. “
” I don’t believe in honors – it bothers me. Honors bother: honors is epaulettes; honors is uniforms. My papa brought me up this way. “
” Because the theory of quantum mechanics could explain all of chemistry and the various properties of substances, it was a tremendous success. But still there was the problem of the interaction of light and matter. “
” Each piece, or part, of the whole of nature is always merely an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. “
” There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It’s a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you ‘play’ with them! “
” People often think I’m a faker, but I’m usually honest, in a certain way – in such a way that often nobody believes me! “
” What one fool can understand, another can. “
” The idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another. “
” The extreme weakness of quantum gravitational effects now poses some philosophical problems; maybe nature is trying to tell us something new here: maybe we should not try to quantize gravity. “
” Perhaps one day we will have machines that can cope with approximate task descriptions, but in the meantime, we have to be very prissy about how we tell computers to do things. “
” If I get stuck, I look at a book that tells me how someone else did it. I turn the pages, and then I say, ‘Oh, I forgot that bit,’ then close the book and carry on. Finally, after you’ve figured out how to do it, you read how they did it and find out how dumb your solution is and how much more clever and efficient theirs is! “