Richard Feynman in Popular Culture

Physicist Richard Feynman commemorated in various ways

richard feynman in popular culture

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist who was recognized more as an outstanding teacher, a story-teller and an everyday joker whose life was a combination of his intelligence, curiosity and uncertainty. Here is a list of instances when Feynman's life and work were celebrated.

Tribute by Bill Gates

Bill Gates wrote an article: "The Best Teacher I Never Had" in 2016, describing Feynman's talents as a teacher. He called Feynman "a phenomenal explainer, amazing scientist, and all-around colorful guy." He also uploaded a video on YouTube as a tribute to Feynman's 1965 Nobel Prize victory in response to Caltech's request.

Bongo playing by Sheldon

Sheldon Cooper, a fictional character from The Big Bang Theory, who works at CalTech is a huge Feynman fan. He has imitated Feynman on various occasions, once by playing the bongo drums. Feynman's van was also depicted in the show with Feynman diagrams painted over it. In the new spinoff, Young Sheldon, a poster of Feynman's can be seen Sheldon's room.

Feynman's Biopic

Richard Feynman was played by Matthew Broderick in the 1996 biopic Infinity. The film is based on Feynman's autobiography: What do you care what other people think? It explores Feynman's childhood, work and love life.

richard feynman in popular culture INFINITY
Also read: movies every physics student should watch

Broderick said in 1997: "It (portraying Feynman) was a difficult job and took four years from start to finish."

A play on Feynman

The play, titled QED, was premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2001 and was later presented at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Broadway starring Golden Globe wining actor Alan Alda as Richard Feynman.

richard feynman in popular culture QED

Feynman in academia

The main building for the Computing Division at Fermilab is named the "Feynman Computing Center" in his honor. At CERN, there is a street on the Meyrin site named "Route Feynman" after the physicist. Feynman prize is the highest annual award given in the field of nanotechnology. 

Feynman in advertisement

A picture of Richard Feynman giving a lecture was included in 1997 poster series commissioned by Apple computers for their "Think Different" advertising campaign.

Feynman on stamp

richard feynman in popular culture stamp

In 2005, the United States Postal Service issued the "American Scientists" stamp collection which included Richard Feynman in the list. His sepia-toned stamp has his photograph and eight small Feynman diagrams around it.

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