Showing posts with label List. Show all posts
Showing posts with label List. Show all posts

10 Famous Physicists Who Played Chess

famous nobel prize winning physicists who played chess

Chess is a tactical board game that is enjoyed by professionals and hobbyists all over the world. It is well known that chess playing not only develops concentration but also improves memory. In this post, let us look at ten physicists who enjoyed the game of Chess.

Paul Dirac

Growing up, Dirac played Chess on the Sundays with his father. He learned it quickly and went on to become the president of chess club of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Paul Dirac also played chess with the Nobel Prize winning physicist friend Pyotr Kapitsa.

nobel prize winning physicists who played chess

Roger Penrose

He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2020 for the work done on black hole singularities. His brother is the chess Grandmaster Jonathan Penrose. Their love for chess emerged thanks to their father Lionel Penrose who was a geneticist, mathematician and chess theorist.

Stephen Hawking

Hawking played chess just for fun with his youngest child, Timothy.

famous physicists who played chess
picture credit: pinterest

Albert Einstein

The renowned physicist was friends with German chess player and world champion Emanuel Lasker. In 1933, Oppenheimer played against Einstein in Princeton, USA and lost by resignation. Einstein was a good player but played very little chess.

Richard Feynman

American physicist Richard Feynman was drawn to chess in the high school. He was particularly interested in observing the chess gameplay. In one interview, Feynman said, in regards to physics: The gods are playing a great game of chess and the scientists are merely observers trying to figure out the rules of the game.

Werner Heisenberg

As a young boy, Heisenberg spent his free time in the evenings playing chess against neighborhood friends. His love of the game grew and became intolerable for teachers and professors. Especially Arnold Sommerfeld, Heisenberg's doctoral advisor, forbade him to play chess.

Edward Teller

Hungarian physicist Edward Teller learned to play chess from his father at the age of 6. Like his doctoral advisor Werner Heisenberg, Teller was also an avid chess player. Unfortunately, he could never beat Heisenberg at chess, though he was able to defeat Heisenberg in table tennis.

famous physicists who played chess
picture: ESVA

William Henry Bragg

He won the Nobel Prize in physics along with his son for their work in the analysis of crystal structure using X-rays. He was the secretary of the Adelaide University Chess Association.

Erwin Schrödinger

Erwin Schrödinger shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in physics with Paul Dirac. He once wrote "I do like chess, but it has turned out to be not the appropriate relaxation from the work I am doing."

Max Planck

German physicist Max Planck, who proposed the quantum theory, played chess with the world chess champion and mathematician Emmanuel Lasker.

10 Albert Einstein Quotes To Succeed In Life

albert einstein quotes that will help you in life motivational

Apart from making groundbreaking discoveries in physics, Albert Einstein also played the role of a motivational guru quite often. So, following are 10 Einstein quotes that will change your life.

1. Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and try to test his ideas on reality. [Meaning: Don't keep delaying what you really want to do. Try it out for who knows what is possible?]

2. Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift. Never lose a holy curiosity for it has its own reason for existing. [Meaning: Every child is born curious. Keep your mind open to new adventures.]

3. Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value. Because, only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. [Meaning: Our relationships are just as important as goals.]

4. Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving. [Meaning: Enjoy the ride. Don't be afraid to fall.]

5. Don't think about why you question, simply don't stop questioning. Don't worry about what you can't answer, and don't try to explain what you can't know. [Meaning: Curiosity is a quality one must never let go of. Ask questions as they will lead you to life's answers.]

6. Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of truth. [Meaning: Don't follow people blindly.]

7. The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think. [Meaning: Learn how to think, not what to think.]

8. I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. [Meaning: Live in the moment. Act now.]

9. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. [Meaning: Break the mould you were born into.]

10. If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut. [Meaning: Work hard. Play hard. Stay humble.]

5 Qualities That Made Albert Einstein Genius

why albert einstein was a genius physics science mystery einstein's brain

Collaborative instinct

Einstein mastered the art of collaboration like no other physicist of the time. He worked with his first wife Mileva Marić, British astronomer Arthur Eddington, with his professor, mathematician Hendrik Lorentz and most importantly with Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, with whom he formulated the Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose-Einstein condensate.

Powerful Imagination

When Einstein first published his ideas in the early half of the 20th century, none in the scientific community took them seriously. They were too imaginative as well as complex at the same time. For example the concept of space-time curvature was first thought of in 1911 but only verified and accepted 8 years later when Arthur Eddington confirmed it.

Childlike curiosity

Einstein's work was a result of his childlike curiosity. He had once famously declared: 'Never lose a holy curiosity'. Despite several rumors, he was an excellent student who taught himself algebra at the age of 12. For simply wanting to learn was a pleasure for his kind. At the same age, he also discovered an alternative proof of Pythagorean theorem. By age 14, he had self-taught himself differential and integral calculus.

Challenging the norms

Einstein was also a rebel. As a 15 year old, he had clashed with the authorities at his school for differences on the teaching method. He later wrote that creative thought was lost in a strict rote learning and he hated it. He said: 'School failed me and I failed the school'. His father wanted him to become an electrical engineer but he went with physics against his father's wishes.

Einstein's big brain

There has been a lot of talk about Einstein's brain and why not. He was the greatest mind since Newton and perhaps more famous worldwide. After his death, it was found that Einstein's brain included a greater density of neurons in some parts of the brain. His prefrontal cortex, which is linked to planning, focused attention, and perseverance, was also greatly expanded, unlike other test brains observed.

5 True Love Stories In The Physics World

love stories in physics

Marie and Pierre

In Pierre, she found a caring, brilliant lab partner. In Marie, he discovered the love of his life. And together they went on to win the Nobel Prize.

Richard and Arline

Despite being from two separate worlds, they were united by the threads of love. Richard and Arline (although they weren't meant to be forever) their love became an example for you and me.

Carl and Ann

Carl was lost, perhaps like an asteroid drifting through space and time. Enter Ann Druyan while filming of Cosmos; together they ignited a romantic fire.

carl sagan ann druyan love story valentines day

Stephen and Jane

When Stephen was in need, she was there beside him. Like a shoulder of support during the declining state of her man. Stephen and Jane prove that true love need not fear the inevitable ills of life.

Paul and Margit

All his life he was waiting to share his thoughts and feelings with someone he could trust and admire. Paul and Margit happened to meet although by chance but their chemistry like a classical love story it transpired.

paul dirac love story valentines day margit wigner

5 Deserving Indians Who Did Not Win Nobel Prize

indian nobel laureates science physics chemistry

Yes, lately, there have been many Indian-American Nobel Laureates. But there is, so far, only one, let's say, "wholly Indian" Nobel Prize winner in science. He is C.V. Raman who won it for physics in 1930. In this post, let's take a look at deserving candidates who did not win the most coveted prize.

Satyendra Nath Bose

Bose was a brilliant physicist who collaborated with Albert Einstein to work out what is now called the Bose-Einstein statistics. Several Nobel Prizes were awarded related to the field initiated by him but Bose himself never won the top honors.

He was nominated five times but the Nobel committee did not find his work worthy of the Prize. Paul Dirac, English Physicist, coined (and popularized) the term Boson in Bose's honor (particles that obey Bose Einstein statistics).

So, when asked about his Nobel Prize snub, Bose replied: "I have got all the recognition I deserve." Surely, his name will live on forever in the scientific world, thanks to Dirac.

Meghnad Saha

He was an Indian astrophysicist who made fundamental contributions to astronomy. His work (Ionization equation) allowed astronomers to accurately relate the spectrum of stars to their actual temperatures.

Saha was nominated for the Prize several times especially for the work done in astronomy. But at that time astronomy was not considered a branch of physics. Edwin Hubble tried to change that during his lifetime but to no avail.

Homi Bhabha

He was a nuclear physicist who is regarded as the father of Indian nuclear programme. Bhabha figured out the interaction of cosmic rays with the upper atmosphere to produce particles observed at the ground level.

He later concluded that observation of such particles was a straightforward experimental verification of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Bhabha was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1951 and 1953-1956 but never won.

G.N. Ramachandran

He was an Indian physicist who is known for the creation of Ramachandran plot for understanding the peptide structure. He completed his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman.

He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his fundamental contributions in the understanding of protein structure and functioning. Top scientists including Linus Pauling and Francis Crick regarded Ramchandran's work Nobel worthy.

E.C. George Sudarshan

In 2005, a controversy broke out when Roy Glauber won the Nobel Prize for Glauber–Sudarshan representation in quantum optics while Sudarshan was ignored by the committee. In 2007, Sudarshan told the Hindustan Times, "The 2005 Nobel prize for Physics was awarded for my work, but I wasn't the one to get it."

10 Galileo Quotes To Succeed In Life

top 10 galileo quotes astronomy physics

Galileo played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance period. He was the first to discover the rings of Saturn. His work in physics helped Newton formulate the laws of motion. Here is a list of some of his finest sayings:

1. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. (context: Galileo's trial by The Church)

2. The book of the universe is written in a mathematical language, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.

3. The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

4. My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry? (In a 1610 letter, Galileo's trial)

5. Nature is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws imposed upon her, or cares a whit whether her abstruse reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men.

6. In the long run my observations have convinced me that most men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads.

7. In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

8. I have been in my bed for five weeks, oppressed with weakness and other infirmities from which my age, seventy four years, permits me not to hope release. Added to this, the sight of my right eye — that eye whose labors (dare I say it) have had such glorious results — is for ever lost. That of the left, which was and is imperfect, is rendered null by continual weeping. [context: His house arrest after the trial; Galileo became partially blind by looking at the Sun through his telescope]

9. Light held together by moisture. (his description of wine)

10. You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it within himself.

10 Discoveries By Newton That Changed The World

top ten isaac newton discoveries

Isaac Newton is one of the few names that will forever be enshrined in physics history and that too with a lot of glamour associated. Contributions of none other physicist match his, well, probably Einstein's, or not even his!? The following are Newton's ten most well-known works that changed the world later on.

Laws of motion

1. An object will remain at rest or move in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.
3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton's three laws of motion, along with thermodynamics, stimulated the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Much of the society built today owes to these laws.

Binomial Theorem

Around 1665, Isaac Newton discovered the Binomial Theorem, a method to expand the powers of sum of two terms. He generalized the same in 1676. The binomial theorem is used in probability theory and in the computing sciences.

Inverse square law

By using Kepler's laws of planetary motion, Newton derived the inverse square law of gravity. This means that the force of gravity between two objects is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers. This law is used to launch satellites into space.

Newton's cannon

Newton was a strong supporter of Copernican Heliocentrism. This was a thought experiment by Newton to illustrate orbit or revolution of moon around earth (and hence, earth around the Sun).

top ten discoveries by isaac newton

He imagined a very tall mountain at the top of Earth on which a cannon is loaded. If too much gunpowder is used, then the cannonball will fly into space. If too little is used, then the ball wouldn't travel far. Just the right amount of powder will make the ball orbit the Earth.


Newton invented the differential calculus when he was trying to figure out the problem of accelerating body. Whereas Leibniz is best-known for the creation of integral calculus. The calculus is at the foundation of higher level mathematics. Calculus is used in physics and engineering, such as to improve the architecture of buildings and bridges.


Newton was the first to understand the formation of rainbow. He also figured out that white light was a combination of 7 colors. This he demonstrated by using a disc, which is painted in the colors, fixed on an axis. When rotated, the colors mix, leading to a whitish hue.

Top ten discoveries by isaac newton
Newton's disc

Reflecting Telescope

In 1666, Newton imagined a telescope with mirrors which he finished making two years later in 1668. It has many advantages over refracting telescope such as clearer image, cheap cost, etc.

Law of cooling

His law states that the rate of heat loss in a body is proportional to the difference in the temperatures between the body and its surroundings. The more the difference, the sooner the cup of tea will cool down.

Classification of cubics

Newton found 72 of the 78 "species" of cubic curves and categorized them into four types. In 1717, Scottish mathematician James Stirling proved that every cubic was one of these four types.

top 10 discoveries by isaac newton
some cubic curves (Wiki)


At that time, alchemy was the equivalent of chemistry. Newton was very interested in this field apart from his works in physics. He conducted many experiments in chemistry and made notes on creating a philosopher's stone.

Newton could not succeed in this attempt but he did manage to invent many types of alloys including a purple copper alloy and a fusible alloy (Bi, Pb, Sn). The alloy has medical applications (radiotherapy).

5 Physicists Who Were Musically Gifted

Even though physics and music are two wildly separate fields...what is life without both of them? Without physics, there is no chemistry or biology, or that which we call living. Whereas, without music, the living cannot so eloquently express feelings such as joy, heartbreak, hope and so on.

Richard Feynman

This was a man full of life...He was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics. Even at old age, Feynman did not stop performing his famous "orange juice" song.

Albert Einstein

He had once said: "Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music, I see my life in terms of music. If I were not a physicist I would probably be a musician. I get most joy in life out of my violin."

albert einstein violin player

His mother, Pauline, played the piano reasonably well and she wanted her son to learn the violin, not only to make him fall in love with music but also to help him assimilate into German culture.

Max Planck

He was a German physicist who is known for proposing Quantum theory in 1901. Planck was a father figure to Einstein yet they both played music as if members of a western classical band.

max planck piano music physics

Planck was gifted when it came to music. He took singing lessons and played organ, piano and cello, and composed his own songs. However, instead of music, Planck chose physics for a career.

S.N. Bose

He was an Indian physicist and polymath who is known for having collaborated with Albert Einstein on his original work which came to be called Bose-Einstein statistics.

satyendra nath bose music esraj

Satyendra Nath Bose was gifted at playing Esraj, an Indian stringed instrument, similar to violin. He used to perform for his students and colleagues in Calcutta and Dhaka universities.

Werner Heisenberg

He was a German physicist known for uncertainty principle, one of the cornerstones of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg was highly interested in music and played together with Albert Einstein if Max Planck called it off.

werner heisenberg piano

He started reading sheet music at the age of four! However, as Heisenberg grew older, his love for science outgrew his passion for music, despite which, music remained a lifelong hobby of his.

5 Poems Written By Famous Physicists

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

Although they mostly employ mathematical language in order to describe nature...but from time to time, physicists cave in to poetry. In this post, you will read some of the best poems written by the most renowned physicists in the world.

Robert Oppenheimer

He was an American theoretical physicist who contributed to our understanding of atoms, black holes and quantum tunneling. He wrote the following poem describing his memories of New Mexico.

It was evening when we came to the river
With a low moon over the desert
That we had lost in the mountains, forgotten.
What with the cold and the sweating
And the ranges barring the sky.

And when we found it again...
In the dry hills down by the river,
Half withered, we had
The hot winds against us.

There were two palms by the landing;
The yuccas were flowering; there was
a light on the far shore, and tamarisks.
We waited a long time, in silence.

Then we heard the oars creaking
And afterwards, I remember,
The boatman called us.
We did not look back at the mountains.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

Oppenheimer's friend, British physicist Paul Dirac, who hated poetry, quipped, "In science, one tries to tell people, something that no one ever knew before, in such a way as to be understood by everyone. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite!"

Paul Dirac

Ironically, Dirac wrote the following poem; quite full of gloom!

Age is, of course, a fever chill
That every physicist must fear.
He's better dead than living still
When once he's past his 30th year.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

He was a Nobel Prize winning physicist and this poem, which is attributed to him, shows his dedication towards physics. Dirac was a complicated character; in fact, Einstein described him as an awful balance between genius and madness.

Albert Einstein

Einstein had a great reverence for Baruch Spinoza, who was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese origin, best-known for his conceptions of the self and the universe.

How much do I love that noble man,
More than I could tell with words!
I fear though he'll remain alone
With a holy halo of his own...

This poem was written by Einstein in 1920 in the honor of Spinoza. According to Spinoza, "What many people call God, few call the Laws of Physics."

Galileo Galilei

He was an Italian astronomer who is known to have broken the foundations of Aristotelian physics. Galileo discovered the law of inertia and made pioneering contributions to astronomy.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

He wrote the following appreciation poem for mathematics; a free verse.

Nature is written in this grand book
Which stands continually open
Before our eyes
But cannot be understood
Without first learning
To comprehend the language
In which it is written.

Without which
It is impossible..
To even understand a word
Without which
One is just wandering
In a dark labyrinth.

According to Galileo, this was a language whose words were composed with triangles, circles and other shapes. Clearly, his intention was to say, that without math, it is impossible to understand natural phenomena.

Richard Feynman

He was an American Nobel Prize winning physicist who contributed to our understanding of the interaction between light and matter.

Out of the cradle
Onto dry land
Here it is standing:
Atoms with consciousness;
Matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
Wonders at wondering: I,
A universe of atoms
An atom in the universe.

In this poem, Feynman has demonstrated the great extent of his intellect and imagination. It shows the evolution of life from the oceans to land-walking creatures. It also shows that on an astronomical scale, his existence is meaningless; but on this scale, in which he's in, he himself is the universe!

James Maxwell

He was a Scottish physicist who unified the phenomena of electricity, magnetism and optics into one single framework. His work is considered equivalent to that of Einstein's.

The world may be utterly crazy
And life may be labour in vain;
But I'd rather be silly than lazy,
And would not quit life for its pain.

This poem was written by him in 1858 in a book titled, Segreto per esser felice, meaning, Secret to be happy. Maxwell was a great lover of Scottish poetry and wrote many of his own.

5 Talents of Richard Feynman Other Than Physics

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo

Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest scientists who won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1965. But we recognize him more as an outstanding teacher, a story-teller and an everyday joker whose life, was a combination of his intelligence, curiosity and uncertainty.

Feynman had once said, "Everything is interesting once you go into it deeply enough." He used to enjoy every single aspect of life whatever it had to offer. In this post, therefore, let us look at the things Feynman excelled at, apart from physics of course.


Did you know that Feynman was an outstanding pencil artist who used to sign off his paintings with a pseudonym: ofey. The following is a portrait of fellow physicist Hans Bethe, also a Nobel Prize winner, friend of his.

hans bethe talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo

Physicist Richard Feynman had started drawing more often towards the end of his scientific career.

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo

Bongo Playing

Feynman not only used to play bongo but also wrote songs to accompany the music. One of his famous songs was called, "Orange Juice" which he penned for his love of it.

You can just look at his old wrinkly face and wonder how and why he had so much charm even at old age?


Now this is interesting...because how many physicists do you know that loved to dress up? Well, Feynman was clearly an exception.

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo
Dressed as Queen Elizabeth II

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo
The usual joker

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo
Exotic cosplay


Did you know that Feynman wrote a long free-verse poem titled, an atom in the universe, in 1955? His command over scientific language was unmatched...which is demonstrated by how he described the whole universe in only a glass of wine:

"If we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms...

The glass is a distillation of the Earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars...

What strange arrays of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation..

Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it!

If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts: physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on..remember that nature does not know it!

So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!"


This is not a surprise...of course we know him as the great explainer, right? Even Bill Gates has said, "Feynman had this amazing knack for making physics clear and fun at the same time. He was the best teacher I never had."

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo

The public made him an icon because he was not only a great scientist and clown but also a great human being and a guide to his students in time of trouble.


He was invited to investigate the Challenger disaster and found out the problem that caused the accident was trivial. Feynman did not shy away from blaming NASA.

He demonstrated that the material used in the shuttle's O-rings became less resilient in cold weather by compressing a sample of the material in a clamp and immersing it in ice-cold water.

talented richard feynman ofey rogers commission infinity physics bongo

NASA ultimately admitted that the disaster was caused by the primary O-ring not properly sealing in unusually cold weather at Cape Canaveral.


Apart from writing physics books, Feynman had a knack for telling anecdotes. He wrote two autobiographical accounts, one of which, titled, 'What do you care what other people think?' was adapted into 1996 movie Infinity starring ‎Matthew Broderick and Patricia Arquette.

Summing up

He was a genius in truest sense of the word. According to Robert Oppenheimer, "Feynman was a second Dirac. Only this time human." Just to let you know, Oppenheimer and Dirac were Feynman's seniors. In fact, Paul Dirac was Feynman's hero growing up, and quite opposite of what Feynman was...Dirac hardly spoke a word or two.
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