Really this is part II, as I had already posted Richard Feynman’s lectures on gravity from Tuva — and there will be many more Feynman posts as he was both an excellent physicist and a great explainer of physics. To get a little more about him, check out his wikipedia page.
Feynman was and did many things, he was an outspoken atheist, worked on the Manhattan Project, was one of the foremost developers of quantum physics (his Feynman diagrams are still heavily used today), and just generally the most renowned physicist of the 20th century after Einstein. Feynman is also famous for debunking the nature of the Challenger shuttle disaster, as he mentions in his excellent book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character.
Surely You’re Joking is a collection of stories written by Feynman that are sure to make you laugh and blow your mind. (You might also think he’s kind of a dick — no pun intended — because the guy was no feminist, and a wee bit full of himself. He also hated philosophers, which I think is hilarious.)
So! The dude’s a legend. There are generations of physicists obsessed with the guy (and rightly so). To learn even more about him, there’s this fantastic biography about his life called Genius, by the acclaimed science writer James Gleick. (Gleick also wrote a fascinating physics-for-non-scientists book about chaos theory, entitled Chaos. It had my aunt walking around for weeks shouting “the chaos! the chaos!”) Genius reads like a novel, but is the foremost biography on Feynman’s nutty, adventurous, and sometimes tragic life.