The Character of Physical Law

The Character of Physical Law is a series of seven lectures by physicist Richard Feynman concerning the nature of the laws of physics. Feynman delivered the lectures in 1964 at Cornell University, as part of the Messenger Lectures series. The BBC recorded the lectures, and published a book under the same title the following year;[1] Cornell published the BBC's recordings online in September 2015.[2] In 2017 MIT Press published, with a new foreword by Frank Wilczek, a paperback reprint of the 1965 book.[3]

The Character of Physical Law
First edition
AuthorRichard Feynman
CountryUnited States
Published1999 (BBC)
Pages173 pp.
LC ClassQC71 .F44

Topics edit

The lectures covered the following topics:

  1. The law of gravitation, an example of physical law
  2. The relation of mathematics and physics
  3. The great conservation principles
  4. Symmetry in physical law
  5. The distinction of past and future
  6. Probability and uncertainty - the quantum mechanical view of nature
  7. Seeking new laws

Reception edit

Critical reception has been positive.[4][5] The journal The Physics Teacher, in recommending it to both scientists and non-scientists alike, gave The Character of Physical Law a favorable review, writing that although the book was initially intended to supplement the recordings, it was "complete in itself and will appeal to a far wider audience".[6]

Selections edit

  1. "In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. ...", – Feynman 1965, p. 156

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Feynman, Richard (1965). The Character of Physical Law. Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-679-60127-2.
  2. ^ "Richard Feynman Messenger Lectures (1964) - CornellCast". CornellCast. Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  3. ^ Richard Feynman (10 March 2017). The Character of Physical Law, with new foreword. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-34173-8.
  4. ^ Narodny, Leo (1991). "Reviewed Work: The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman". Leonardo. 24 (4): 493. doi:10.2307/1575548. JSTOR 1575548.
  5. ^ Michalos, Alex C. (June 1967). "Reviewed Work: The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman". Philosophy of Science. 34 (2): 194. doi:10.1086/288144. JSTOR 186108.
  6. ^ Hutchisson, Elmer (1968). "BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS: The Character of Physical Law". The Physics Teacher. 6 (89): 89–90. Bibcode:1968PhTea...6...89F. doi:10.1119/1.2351260.