Richard P. Feynman quotes

  • The easiest person to fool is yourself.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Fool #Persons

  • If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Errors #Certain

  • Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Sex #Science #Giving

  • Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Inspirational #Education #Learning

  • If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Thinking #Mechanic #Programming

  • To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Nature #Real #Learning

  • Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question - to doubt - to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Strong #Struggle #Thinking

  • You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It's their mistake, not my failing.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Life #Confidence #Powerful

  • No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Religious #Philosophical #Adventure

  • We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Inspirational #Responsibility #Science

  • Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Stars #Night #Atoms

  • I, a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Atoms #Cosmology #Universe

  • Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Ignorance #Science #Thinking

  • Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Sex #Math #Science

  • I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here. I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Mean #Humility #Acceptance

  • Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Body #Degrees #Certain

  • We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Thinking #People #Doubt

  • Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgments can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Thinking #Doubt

  • What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school... It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see my physics students don't understand it... That is because I don't understand it. Nobody does.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Graduation #School #Learning

  • The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Laughter #Inspiration #Compassion

  • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Clever #Love Life #Science

  • There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Stars #Learning #Science

  • It's amazing how many people even today use a computer to do something you can do with a pencil and paper in less time.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #People #Simplicity #Today

  • We have been led to imagine all sorts of things infinitely more marvelous than the imagining of poets and dreamers of the past. It shows that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. For instance, how much more remarkable it is for us all to be stuck-half of us upside down-by a mysterious attraction, to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years, than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on a tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Swimming #Past #Men

  • I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Inspirational #Change #Education

  • Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Uplifting #Wisdom #Nature

  • Science is what we do to keep us from lying to ourselves
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Lying

  • Start out understanding religion by saying everything is possibly wrong... As soon as you do that, you start sliding down an edge which is hard to recover from...
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Understanding #Religion #Atheism

  • Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Order #People #World

  • I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Badass #Knowledge #Science

  • Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Work as hard and as much as you want to on the things you like to do the best. Don't think about what you want to be, but what you want to do. Keep up some kind of a minimum with other things so that society doesn't stop you from doing anything at all.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Falling In Love #Thinking #Interesting

  • What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Thinking #People #Care

  • For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Different #Use #Want

  • It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Freedom #Philosophy #Ignorance

  • If an apple was magnified to the size of the Earth, then the atoms in the apple would be approximately the size of the original apple.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Apples #Earth #Size

  • Mathematics is not just a language. Mathematics is a language plus reasoning.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Language #Mathematics #Plus

  • The thing that doesn't fit is the thing that is most interesting.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Interesting #Fit #Most Interesting

  • I think a power to do something is of value. Whether the result is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how it is used, but the power is a value.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Life #Thinking #Good Things

  • There is no authority who decides what is a good idea.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Ideas #Physics #Authority

  • There’s so much distance between the fundamental rules and the final phenomenon, that it’s almost unbelievable that the final variety of phenomenon can come from such a steady operation of such simple rules.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Distance #Simple #Fundamentals

  • [Quantum mechanics] describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Views #Common Sense #Religion

  • Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Fooling Ourselves

  • No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Problem #No Problem

  • There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Discovery #Curiosity #Doubt

  • Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Imagination #Statistics #Fiction

  • The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Truth #Turns

  • Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Religion #Doubt #Culture

  • It is odd, but on the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Play #Physics

  • The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity—and until they do (and find the cure), all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Real #Fall #Philosophical

  • God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Religion #Mystery

  • We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into the paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers... one saying to the other: you don't know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Mean #Talking #Philosopher

  • Nature has a great simplicity and therefore a great beauty
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Spiritual #Simplicity #Spirituality

  • Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. I don't know why. Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe? The value of science remains unsung by singers... This is not yet a scientific age...
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Writing #Artist #Age

  • I have a friend who's an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don't agree with. He'll hold up a flower and say, "Look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. But then he'll say, "I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull." I think he's kind of nutty. [...] There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Beautiful #Philosophy #Flower

  • Some people say, "How can you live without knowing?" I do not know what they mean. I always live without knowing. That is easy. How you get to know is what I want to know.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Philosophy #Mean #Knowing

  • It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Progress #Goes On #Matter

  • Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Responsibility #Solutions

  • So I have just one wish for you – the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Integrity #Good Luck #Organization

  • Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Philosophy #Science #Engineering

  • You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office. You are not nameless to me. Do not remain nameless to yourself — it is too sad a way to be. Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of the naïve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher's ideals are.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Teacher #Children #Simple

  • It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Ignorance #Men #Thinking

  • There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Play #Disease #Serious

  • You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Names #Bird

  • Physics isn't the most important thing. Love is.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Love Is #Technology

  • We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Progress #Trying

  • Ordinary fools are all right; you can talk to them, and try to help them out. But pompous fools-guys who are fools and are covering it all over and impressing people as to how wonderful they are with all this hocus pocus-THAT, I CANNOT STAND! An ordinary fool isn't a faker; an honest fool is all right. But a dishonest fool is terrible!
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #People #Guy #Trying

  • What I cannot create, I do not understand.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Inspiring #Education #Learning

  • I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Science #Differences #Knowing

  • For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Inspirational #Successful #Science

  • Tell your son to stop trying to fill your head with science — for to fill your heart with love is enough.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Life #Heart #Son

  • It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Atheist #Drama #Struggle

  • Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Reliability #Experts #Opinion

  • So my antagonist said, "Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it's impossible?" "No", I said, "I can't prove it's impossible. It's just very unlikely". At that he said, "You are very unscientific. If you can't prove it impossible then how can you say that it's unlikely?" But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Flying #Way #Impossible

  • You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity. When you get it right, it is obvious that it is right -- at least if you have any experience -- because usually what happens is that more comes out than goes in.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Truth #Simplicity #Obvious

  • Learn what the rest of the world is like. The variety is worthwhile.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #World #Worthwhile #Variety

  • Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Philosopher #Deals

  • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Way #Fool #Firsts

  • Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Interesting #World #Matter

  • I think I can safely say that nobody understands Quantum Mechanics.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Fake People #Thinking #Mechanic

  • I'm smart enough to know that I'm dumb.
    -- Richard P. Feynman

    #Smart #Grace #Dumb