• Great Minds: Richard Feynman - The Uncertainty Of Knowledge

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    Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model).

    For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world.

    He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb and was a member of the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In addition to his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing, and introducing the concept of nanotechnology (creation of devices at the molecular scale). He held the Richard Chace Tolman professorship in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

    Feynman was a keen popularizer of physics through both books and lectures, notably a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" and "The Feynman Lectures on Physics". Feynman also became known through his semi-autobiographical books ("Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and "What Do You Care What Other People Think?") and books written about him, such as "Tuva or Bust!"

    He was regarded as an eccentric and free spirit. He was a prankster, juggler, safecracker, proud amateur painter, and bongo player. He liked to pursue a variety of seemingly unrelated interests, such as art, percussion, Maya hieroglyphs, and lock picking.

    Feynman also had a deep interest in biology, and was a friend of the geneticist and microbiologist Esther Lederberg, who developed replica plating and discovered bacteriophage lambda. They had several mutual physicist friends who, after beginning their careers in nuclear research, moved for moral reasons into genetics, among them Leó Szilárd, Guido Pontecorvo, and Aaron Novick.

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  • The Four Horsemen: Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens & Dennett Play

    All four authors have recently received a large amount of attention for their writings about religion and atheism. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett discuss the tough questions that face the world today, and propose new ideas for going forward.

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  • Richard Dawkins: Break The Science Barrier Play

    Science is useful but that is not all it is. Science can be uplifting, thrilling, life-enhancing. Originally broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 in 1996, "Break the Science Barrier" follows the Oxford Biologist Richard Dawkins as he meets with people who have experienced the wonders of science first-hand.

    We meet the astronomer who first discovered pulsars, the geneticist who invented DNA fingerprinting, a scientist who discovered a protein that causes cancer, and others. Richard Dawkins interviews famous admirers of science such as Douglas Adams and David Attenborough, and asks them why science means so much to them. We also see how dangerous ignorance of science can be in classrooms, courts, and beyond.

    With so many expressing paranormal beliefs and ignorance of science, Dawkins encourages viewers to contrast these ancient superstitions with the power and beauty of our scientific achievements and understanding.
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  • Great Minds, Great Words Play

    A Few Great Words From Great Minds: Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman ...
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  • Most Viewed Science Videos Play

    Most popular, most viewed science videos
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  • Facts of Evolution / Natural Selection Play

    In biology, evolution is change in the genetic material of a population of organisms from one generation to the next.

    Though changes produced in any one generation are normally small, differences accumulate with each generation and can, over time, cause substantial changes in the population, a process that can result in the emergence of new species.

    The similarities among species suggest that all known species are descended from a common ancestor (or ancestral gene pool) through this process of gradual divergence.

    The basis of evolution is the genes that are passed on from generation to generation; these produce an organism's inherited traits. These traits vary within populations, with organisms showing heritable differences (variation) in their traits.

    Evolution itself is the product of two opposing forces: processes that constantly introduce variation, and processes that make variants either become more common or rare.

    New variation arises in two main ways: either from mutations in genes, or from the transfer of genes between populations and between species. New combinations of genes are also produced by genetic recombination, which can increase variation between organisms.

    Evolutionary biologists document the fact that evolution occurs, and also develop and test theories that explain its causes. The study of evolutionary biology began in the mid-nineteenth century, when research into the fossil record and the diversity of living organisms convinced most scientists that species changed over time.

    However, the mechanism driving these changes remained unclear until the theories of natural selection were independently proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace. Darwin's landmark 1859 work "On the Origin of Species" brought the new theories of evolution by natural selection to a wide audience, leading to the overwhelming acceptance of evolution among scientists.
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