Feynman, Richard(1918–88) physicist; born in Far Rockaway, N.Y. He worked on the Manhattan Project at Princeton (1941–42) and Los Alamos (1942–45), while continuing to pursue his interest in quantum electrodynamics. Accepting Bethe's offer to join Cornell University (1945–50), he developed pictorial representations of space-time behavioral probabilities of particle interactions, now known as Feynman diagrams. He moved to the California Institute of Technology (1951–88), where he continued to apply his quantum electrodynamic theories to the "superfluidity" of liquid helium. With colleague Gell-Mann, he developed the Conserved Vector Current hypothesis of weak subatomic particle interactions (1958). Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Schwinger and Tomonaga for fundamental developments in quantum electrodynamics. He applied his dynamism, curiosity, and intuition to linguistics, music, art, and teaching, and was an outspoken critic of NASA's laxity in constructing the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger. His free-spirited personality engaged a wide public with his memoir, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (1984).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.