Feynman by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Myrick

Feynman
by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Myrick
First Second, 2011

Like Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson, this book is basically an illustrated selection of its subject’s writings, in this case the entertaining autobiographies of late physicist Richard Feynman. You might be better off perusing the original books, although this is certainly an attractive way to read about someone’s life.

There’s a detailed account of his work on the Manhattan Project, a basic explanation of quantum electrodynamics developed from a series of lectures given at Auckland University in 1979 (“The people of New Zealand thought they were okay, so I guess they’re okay – at least for New Zealand”) and a rather perfunctory two pages devoted to the moral agonies he later suffered over the consequences of introducing the atom bomb to the world.

Like a good portrayal in a film biography, his humour and intelligence shines through, and the inventor of the Feynman diagram would surely have gotten a kick out of seeing his entire life represented in little coloured panels.

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