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August 29, 2011

The Trouble with Feynman

from the desk of Jim Ottaviani


When First Second suggested doing a book about Feynman, my initial reaction -- and I probably said it out loud without meaning to -- was "I'm not ready!"

The book is all printed up and on its way out into the world.  Soon.

And I'm still not ready.

Richard Feynman lived a full-color, wid-screen, 3-D life, in Sensurround. He worked with geniuses like Einstein, Bohr, Dirac, and Oppenheimer, and his own genius and curiosity led him to influence and work directly on the atomic bomb, nanotechnology, supercomputing, and the space shuttle.

He got his fingerprints all over the 20th century, in other words.

Feynman also wrote best-selling books, painted professionally, played percussion, and went out of his way to make sure his life, and the lives of everyone around him, was interesting.

Such a full life vexes people who write about him, because nobody wants a 17,000 page book. (Do you?)

So that's the trouble with Feynman. There's too much great material, and everything I had to cut out broke a little piece off of my heart.

Our book could never be as large as Feynman's heart, and life, and influence. But it's still large, and I think it's satisfying, and I know you're ready for it, even if I wasn't.


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