In this article, we explain the Feynman Method to Learn New Things, allowing you to harness the mental power of one of the 20th century’s brightest thinkers!
- Richard Feynman
- Funny Stories About Feynman
- The Feynman Method
- Why it’s Important to Keep Learning
- Further Reading
Richard Feynman was a famous physicist known for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, a theory that describes the interactions of particles and radiation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his work in this field.
Feynman was also known for his work on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bombs, and for his popular science writing and public lectures.
He was a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and was highly respected by his colleagues for his brilliance and curiosity.
Feynman was also known for his unconventional approach to problem-solving and he is particularly well known for having a gift for explaining difficult concepts in ways that are easy to understand, and during his teaching career, he developed a method for learning new concepts.
Funny Stories About Feynman
Here are a few true stories about some of the funny and smart things he did:
- Feynman was known for his love of learning and his curiosity about the world around him. One story that illustrates this is the time he taught himself how to pick locks. He was inspired to learn this skill after seeing a demonstration of lock-picking at a party, and he quickly became adept at it, using his newfound knowledge to unlock doors around Los Alamos, where he worked, in order to demonstrate the importance of good security. One time he broke into a colleagues top-secret filing cabinet and left a note saying, “I borrowed document no. LA4312 – Feynmann the safecracker.” Want to know how the story ends? Click here to read all about Feynmann’s safe-cracking exploits from his own mouth!
- Feynman was also a talented bongo player, and he often entertained his colleagues with impromptu performances. He even wrote a paper on the physics of bongo drums, explaining how the size and shape of the drums affect the sound they produce.
- Feynman was known for his ability to think creatively and outside the box. One example of this is the time he solved a problem that had stumped other scientists for years. The problem involved calculating the behavior of a certain type of subatomic particle called a “muon,” and Feynman used a novel approach to solve it. Instead of trying to work out the math, he used a visual representation of the problem, drawing diagrams and pictures to help him understand what was happening. This approach allowed him to see the solution more clearly and eventually solve the problem.
- Feynman was also known for his sense of humor, and he often used it to defuse tense situations or to lighten the mood. For example, when he was working on the Manhattan Project (the top-secret effort to build the first atomic bomb), he was asked to sign a pledge not to reveal any information about the project to anyone. Feynman’s response was to write a parody of the pledge, saying that he would not reveal any information about the project “except to my barber, while getting a haircut.”
These are just a few examples of the many funny and smart things that Richard Feynman did during his career.
Okay, hopefully I’ve convinced you that Feynman is at least worth listening to. Let’s move onto his method of learning.
The Feynman Method
The Feynman Method is a technique for learning and understanding new concepts or material. It was developed by physicist Richard Feynman, who was known for his ability to explain complex ideas in a simple and clear way.
The Feynman Method involves the following steps:
- Choose the subject or concept that you want to learn about.
- Pretend you are explaining the subject or concept to a layperson, someone who has little to no knowledge of the topic. (This forces you to break down the subject into its simplest, most fundamental components and explain them in a clear and concise way.)
- Write out your explanation in a clear, step-by-step manner. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon as much as possible.
- Test your understanding by attempting to explain the subject to someone else, such as a friend or family member. If you are able to explain the concept in a way that the other person can understand, then you have a good grasp of the material. If you struggle to explain it, then you may need to go back and review the material more carefully.
- Continue to practice and review the material until you are comfortable with the subject and can explain it clearly to others.
Why it’s Important to Keep Learning
There are a wide variety of reasons why it is important to continue learning new things throughout life. Here are a few:
- Learning new things keeps our minds active and helps to prevent cognitive decline as we age. It can also help to reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Learning new things can help us to better understand and engage with the world around us. It can also help us to develop new skills and knowledge that can be applied in different situations and settings.
- Learning new things helps us grow as individuals and can lead to personal and professional development. It can also help us build self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
- Learning new things can help us to connect with others and can lead to new friendships and relationships and teach us to appreciate different perspectives and ways of thinking.
- Learning new things allows us to adapt to change and increase our flexibility and adaptability. This can be especially important in the rapidly changing world we live in.
The Feynman Method is a helpful way to learn and understand new material because it forces you to think critically about the subject and break it down into its most fundamental components. It also helps you develop your ability to explain complex ideas in a simple and clear way, which can be a valuable skill in many different fields
Here is a list of some books written by Feynman. (Want to read some of these for free? Try Audible Free for 30 days!):
- “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” (1985) – This is a collection of humorous and autobiographical stories that Feynman wrote about his experiences as a physicist and his adventures in life.
- “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” (1988) – This book is a follow-up to “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” and contains more stories about Feynman’s life and work.
- “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” (1964) – This book is a compilation of the lectures that Feynman gave to undergraduate students at the California Institute of Technology. It is considered a classic in the field of physics and is widely used as a textbook.
- “QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter” (1985) – This book is an explanation of the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), which Feynman helped to develop. It is written in a clear and accessible style and is aimed at a general audience.
- “The Character of Physical Law” (1965) – This book is a collection of seven lectures that Feynman gave at the University of Washington in which he discusses the fundamental principles of physics and the nature of scientific knowledge.
- “The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist” (1998) – This book is a collection of three lectures that Feynman gave at the University of Washington in which he discusses the role of science in society and the importance of critical thinking.