When I was a graduate student studying physics at U.C.L.A. during the late 1950s, two godlike figures dominated our imaginations: Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. Both physicists worked across town at Caltech, and now and then we’d slip over and sit in on a lecture. Feynman was the older of the two and better known, as much for his wry wit as for his stunning work on quantum electrodynamics. Who was smarter, Feynman or Gell-Mann? On the street, the choice was up for grabs. Some folks are just a lot smarter than the rest of us, and Feynman and Gell-Mann were about as smart as you get. The very existence of such towering geniuses just down the road had a mixed effect on us students. Some were inspired to compete with the greats; others inclined toward melancholy. If nothing else, it was an exciting time to be entering an exciting field, and the two Caltech paragons were a big part of the excitement. Feynman knew everything there was to know about physics and not much about anything else; when not doing physics, he played the bongos and hung out in bars. Gell-Mann knew everything there was to know about everything, and during “off” hours he was likely to be bird-watching in some exotic venue, collecting archaeological artifacts or picking up yet one more foreign language. At least these are the impressions one gets from George Johnson’s masterful
biography of the younger member of the dynamic duo. When the two rivals got together, sparks would fly, igniting lots of good physics. Both men would eventually win Nobel Prizes.
Z recenze na knihu Strange beauty od Murray Gell Manna.