Intermission: Mr. Feynman Makes Everything 'Fun to Imagine'
Even those of us who don't know the first thing about quantum electrodynamics know Richard Feynman's name. He may have won a Nobel Prize for unveiling "deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles," but he's best known as the jovial guy who made science fun and even funny in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and several other books and lectures.
Feynman died in 1988, but his real-world physics lesson live on thanks to the magic of YouTube, providing a way to blow a couple of hours online and actually feel good about it. In clips from the BBC show Fun to Imagine, Feynman sits back in his armchair and explains the physics of everyday objects, from rubber bands to mirrors to fire.
The most delightful part of the videos is watching how much fun Feynman had explaining physics to non-scientists. His eyes twinkle and his lips spread into a broad grin as he contorts his fingers to illustrate the movement of atoms. In the video above, he can hardly contain his laughter as he launches into an explanation of how rubber bands differ mechanically from metal springs. And because he makes the material so easy to understand and remember, you can wow all your friends at happy hour tonight as you explain how magnets work and why trains stay on their tracks.