To Feynman on his 100th birthday

The Feynman legend, pundits say
Began in Queens – Far Rockaway.
It’s there a boy would stop and think
To fix a radio on the blink.

He grew up as a curious guy
Who showed his sister the night sky.
He wondered why, and wondered why
He wondered why he wondered why.

New Jersey followed MIT.
The cream and lemon in his tea
Taught Mr. Feynman when to joke
And how to act like normal folk.

Cracking safes, though loads of fun,
Could not conceal from everyone,
The mind behind that grinning brow:
A new Dirac, but human now.

In New York state he spun a plate
Which led, in nineteen forty eight
To diagrams that let us see
The processes of QED.

He left the east and made a trek
Until he landed at Caltech.
His genius brought us great acclaim.
This place would never be the same.

Dick’s teaching skills were next to none
When reinventing Physics 1.
His wisdom’s there for all to see
In red books numbered 1, 2, 3.

Always up and never glum
He loved to paint and play the drum.
His mind engaged with everything
For all the world is int’resting.

Dick proved that charm befits a nerd.
For papers read, and stories heard
We’ll always be in Feynman’s debt.
A giant we cannot forget.

Science books for kids matter (or used to)

The elementary school I attended hosted an annual book fair, and every year I went with my mother to browse. I would check out the sports books first, to see whether there were any books about baseball I had not already read (typically, no). There was also a small table of science books, and in 1962 when I was in the 4th grade, one of them caught my eye: a lavishly illustrated oversized “Deluxe Golden Book” entitled The World of Science.

My copy of The World of Science by Jane Werner Watson, purchased in 1962 when I was in the 4th grade.

My copy of The World of Science by Jane Werner Watson, purchased in 1962 when I was in the 4th grade.

As I started leafing through it, I noticed one of the cutest girls in my class regarding me with what I interpreted as interest. Right then I resolved to buy the book, or more accurately, to persuade my mother to buy it, as the price tag was pretty steep. Impressing girls is a great motivator.

The title page.

The title page.

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