Richard Feynman

Nobel Prize Physicist Richard Feynman, Signed Letter

Nobel Prize Physicist Richard Feynman, Signed Letter


Single page typed letter signed on California Institute of Technology letterhead, 6" x 8.5". Dated "February 9, 1966", and signed by Richard Feynman in full signature "Richard P. Feynman", Expected folds, else fine.


Feynman writes a lovely thank you letter to Mr. Shalit in response to receiving a congratulatory letter from him for winning the Nobel Prize. "Thank you very much for your kind letter of congratulations ..." Richard P. Feynman won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 "for his fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles."


Feynman the renowned American physicist known for expanding the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, and particle theory. For his work on quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, together with Julian Schwinger and Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga; he developed a way to understand the behavior of subatomic particles using pictorial tools that later became known as Feynman diagrams. He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb much later was a member of the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.


At Princeton, the physicist Robert R. Wilson encouraged Feynman to participate in the Manhattan Project—the wartime U.S. Army project at Los Alamos attempting to develop the atomic bomb. Feynman said he was persuaded to join this effort to help make sure that Nazi Germany did not build it first. He was assigned to Hans Bethe's theoretical division, and impressed Be the enough to be made a group leader. Together with Bethe, he developed the Bethe-Feynman formula for calculating the yield of a fission bomb, which built upon previous work by Robert Serber. Up until her death on June 16, 1945, he visited his wife in a sanatorium in Albuquerque each weekend. He immersed himself in work on the project, and was present at the Trinity bomb test. Feynman claimed to be the only person to see the explosion without the very dark glasses provided, reasoning that it was safe to ignore instructions and look through a truck windshield as it would screen out the harmful ultraviolet radiation.


After the project concluded, Feynman began work as a professor at Cornell University, where Hans Bethe (who proved that the sun's source of energy was nuclear fusion) worked. However, he felt uninspired there; despairing that he had burned out, he turned to less useful, but fun problems, such as analyzing the physics of a twirling, nutating dish, as it is being balanced by a juggler. (As it turned out, this work served him well in future research.) He was therefore surprised to be offered professorships from competing universities, eventually choosing to work at the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, California


The Caltech years

Feynman did much of his best work while at Caltech, including research in:

  • Quantum electrodynamics. The theory for which Feynman won his Nobel Prize is known for its extremely accurate predictions. He helped develop a functional integral formulation of quantum mechanics, in which every possible path from one state to the next is considered, the final path being a sum over the possibilities.
  • Physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, where helium seems to display a lack of viscosity when flowing. Applying the Schrodinger equation to the question showed that the superfluid was displaying quantum mechanical behavior observable on a macroscopic scale. This helped enormously with the problem of superconductivity.
  • A model of weak decay, which showed that the current coupling in the process is a combination of vector and axial (an example of weak decay is the decay of a neutron into an electron, a proton, and an anti- neutrino). Although E.C. George Sudharsan and Robert Marshak developed the theory nearly simultaneously, Feynman's collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann was seen as seminal; the theory was of massive importance, and the weak interaction was neatly described.


He also developed Feynman diagrams, a bookkeeping device which helps in conceptualizing and calculating interactions between particles in spacetime, notably the interactions between electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons. This device allowed him, and later others, to work with concepts that would have otherwise been less approachable, such as time reversibility and other fundamental processes. Feynman diagrams are now fundamental for string theory and M-theory, and have even been extended topologically.


But with all this high level though, Feynman had a reputation for having a quirky zest for life while going against convention, and was considered to be everything from a Cowboy, to Don Quixote at a desk!


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 67664

Price: $2,500.00
Richard FeynmanRichard Feynman
Richard Feynman
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