December 4, 2023
Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman: Fundamental Work in Quantum Electrodynamics

Richard Feynman was an American physicist and a professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology famous for his work in quantum mechanics, particle physics, and general relativity. He was one of the most influential theoretical physicists of the 20th century. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for Feynman diagrams, which he called Feynman graphs.

Feynman received both praise and criticism from fellow scientists but has been largely considered one of the greatest physicists to have ever lived. His contribution to science is difficult to overstate.”

Richard Feynman was an American physicist who changed how people think about quantum mechanics, particle physics, and general relativity through his work in this field.

About Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. He is said to have been self-taught because he did not finish high school and taught himself Calculus from a book in the library. As a child he had interest in radio and later in photography. He also practiced tinkering with mechanical things such as clocks and radios and even created his own Morse code system at the age of five. He then became interested in reading books on science, physics, chemistry, biology, electromagnetism, acoustics and so on.

Life of Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman Birth

Richard Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 in the Borough of Manhattan. This year was important as it marked the end of World War I that started marching in Europe in 1914. He was born to Melville Richard Feynman and Lucille Arline Goodenough. In fact, it is believe that he did not formally attend school after he turning nine years old.


Feynman attended the High School of Music & Art from 1924 to 1931 and graduated from it with a grade point average of 92 out of a maximum 100. He chose not to graduate, but his grades were impressive enough for him to be accepted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Personal life of Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman had a short love life. At the age of twenty-one, he married his first wife Joan Marie Feynman, who was also a former student of MIT. They get divorce about two years later. He then married his second wife Arline Gaby Arleth in 1946, with whom he had two children, Michelle and Robert.

The career of Richard Feynman

After graduating from MIT in 1942 with a degree in physics, Richard began working at Bell Telephone Laboratories where he worked on problems related to electronics and electron microscopes. He went on to work on the Manhattan Project during World War II and joined the Defense Plant Corporation after the war in 1946.

Manhattan Project

Richard Feynman was given a job working on the Manhattan Project. A project that led to the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. Its purpose was to develop an atom bomb and its potential uses, like nuclear weapons and so on.

Early in his career, Richard Feynman worked on problems related to magnetrons (that produce microwaves). However, he eventually went back to work at Bell Laboratories on problems related to semiconductors after he graduated from MIT.


In 1951, Richard Feynman joined the faculty of Cornell where he worked on problems related to kinetics and thermodynamics. He then became a professor at Stanford University from 1955 to 1963 where he developed what he called his “Feynman diagrams”. Which are a means for showing how two-way action affects the overall behavior of particles.

In 1965, Richard Feynman moved to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and stayed there until his death in 1988. He was one of the best scientist ever in his field, and he was regarded as one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century.

Electron/positron annihilation

One of the key achievements Feynman made was his research into electron and positron annihilation. These are the process that occurs when two electrons or positrons meet. And thanks to Feynman’s work, physicists now know how these particles interact with each other.

This is also what led him to his theory of QED, which talks about the interaction between electrons and photons (light particles). This theory was a breakthrough in understanding quantum electrodynamics and helped open up possibilities for exploring new systems in physics.

Political Career

Feynman was also get involve in politics. He was once a candidate for political office. His first campaign was for the New York City Council. And he ran as a member of the Libertarian Party in the 1988 race for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 12th congressional district. However, he received only 8% of the vote that year and lost his seat to Joseph Crowley in Brooklyn’s 10th congressional district.

Death of Richard Feynman

In 1988, Feynman was diagnosed with cancer and eventually succumbed to it on February 15, 1988 at the age of 69. He survive due to his wife Gweneth Howarth, who was fifteen years younger than him.

Feynman’s impact on science

Richard Feynman had impacted the way scientists look at quantum mechanics and particle physics. He is famous for his work in the field of quantum electrodynamics (QED) that provide a valid explanation of the interaction between light and matter. This allowed other scientists to use similar methods to test QED with their own experiments.

Awards and Honors

Richard Feynman received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 for his work on quantum electrodynamics (QED) when he was at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Feynman had also received a number of awards during his life, including:

1963 – National Book Award in Nonfiction.

1971 – Albert Einstein Award.

1972 – Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Physical Society.

1975 – Dannie Heineman Prize for mathematical Physics.

1985 – J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Prize from the American Physical Society.

1987 – Dirac Medal from the Institute of Physics, London, U.K.

1988 – Oersted Medal from The American Association of Physics Teachers.

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