Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feynman interview

The Prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery, observing the other people use it. These are the real things. The honours are unreal ... to me. I don't believe in honours. Honours bother me.

From this wonderful video of the interview of Richard Feynman. This snippet is from about 25 minutes into the video.

I remember this video doing the rounds in various blogs a while ago, but I couldn't watch it at that time (either because it was in some incompatible format or it wasn't available for download in India; I am not sure). Thanks to Krish, I got this working link -- at Google Video (finally!).

If you can't devote some 50 minutes of your time, I would suggest that you check out at least the first 15 minutes, in which he talks about his father: how he taught him the difference between knowing something and knowing its name; and, how he taught him disrespect for 'position' (he gives the example of people bowing to the Pope or to a General). At some level, his father is one of the unifying themes in the interview; for example, Feynman refers to his father immediately after the above quote ("My Papa brought me up this way!").

The last couple of minutes of the video is also priceless. He talks about the value of doubt ("doubting is a fundamental part of my soul!"), about how doubt and not knowing stuff are better than having absolutely certain -- but wrong -- answers.