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A subject not always discussed in polite company concerns the extreme people attracted to the logic of physics and mathematics. Suffice it to say I have run into a number of unusual people of one sort or another in physics and mathematics - not so much in the other sciences or engineering. I believe many people have a mistaken caricature of what kind of person might be a physicist in particular. There are of course those who fit preconceptions precisely and they are remembered - thus keeping the caricature alive.

The other extreme physicists most people do not know of: extreme athletes, martial artists, musicians, drug addicts, ladies men, warrior/soldiers, politicians, the mentally ill, and con-men. Some very unique individuals have several of these extremes or combinations of them. Because it is not expected a great many people can be manipulated by gifted physicists who might also be using one of their other extreme talents.

I say this because like in life generally the nice guy doesn’t always finish first. The nice guy in this context would be someone playing science straight. Like any society the vast majority are likely playing it fairly straight but are easily led around by a small group who have emerged as leaders or known voices of the consensus or orthodoxy.

Like in society in general it is best to be very weary of those attempting to control consensus. They tend to be political central planners at heart. There are many ways to win hearts and mind to control a point of view.

That’s just my 2 cents worth to think about while examining the influence of some famous figures in physics. Think physics on the surface – then likely an extreme of what you see in other famous people just underneath.

Dennis

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I say this because like in life generally the nice guy doesn’t always finish first. The nice guy in this context would be someone playing science straight. Like any society the vast majority are likely playing it fairly straight but are easily led around by a small group who have emerged as leaders or known voices of the consensus or orthodoxy.

I wonder who led Richard Feynman. I doubt whether anyone did and if they did it was not easy. Feynman was a "one of". A sui generis persons, whose likes we shall not see again. He was a maverick, by and large a loner and totally original in his thinking. He was a genius, plain and simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Dennis, that's an interesting point but I'd need some concrete examples and what is extreme about them to more clearly understand or appreciate it.

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I say this because like in life generally the nice guy doesn’t always finish first. The nice guy in this context would be someone playing science straight. Like any society the vast majority are likely playing it fairly straight but are easily led around by a small group who have emerged as leaders or known voices of the consensus or orthodoxy.

I wonder who led Richard Feynman. I doubt whether anyone did and if they did it was not easy. Feynman was a "one of". A sui generis persons, whose likes we shall not see again. He was a maverick, by and large a loner and totally original in his thinking. He was a genius, plain and simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

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I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

When, where and how was Feynman in a struggle with J. S. Bell? Details please.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

What posse? Feynman was not much of a collaborator. When, where, and how (please be specific) did Feynman ever contend with Bell? What the devil are you talking about?

The only rivalry I know that Feynman was in at Caltech, was with Murray Gell-Mann

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Dennis, that's an interesting point but I'd need some concrete examples and what is extreme about them to more clearly understand or appreciate it.

A few examples:

One guy I knew could party all night long - once slept with 39 different women in one month doing the bar pick-up scene, was a former professional racecar driver with a room full of trophies, had been a drug dealer, and would wait until one day before the test to even crack a book, read it and go in cold and get an A in most cases. Later I learned that the flash in the pan method of learning got him through undergraduate but just a few years later he couldn't remember the basics he had "learned" in college.

One guy in graduate school was a tri-athlete, marathon runner, and was getting his black belt while working on his PhD in physics. He looked like a men’s model. By all accounts he was very modest.

Having a black belt was all the rage among students and professors alike among the ones I knew in the 80’s and 90’s.

I met one guy who could play any song on piano after hearing it once and was entirely self-taught, one guy could memorize entire pages of numbers, another could do square roots to 8 decimals in his head and other similar calculations, one guy spent part of his time in the nut-house where I once saw him while working as a guard there, one killed himself after his PhD got delayed again (one of my undergraduate professors had his best friend at Caltech do the same), one senior engineering professor went off the deep end and spent all of his money and time buying up stolen handguns and shooting them in his basement for no apparent reason, one PhD guy I worked with – civilian in the Air Force - killed himself over a hair transplant [looked like rows of corn].

I really didn’t know that many people in physics – I’m sure Ellen Stuttle has probably met a great many more and might have a few interesting observations.

Dennis

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I say this because like in life generally the nice guy doesn’t always finish first. The nice guy in this context would be someone playing science straight. Like any society the vast majority are likely playing it fairly straight but are easily led around by a small group who have emerged as leaders or known voices of the consensus or orthodoxy.

I wonder who led Richard Feynman. I doubt whether anyone did and if they did it was not easy. Feynman was a "one of". A sui generis persons, whose likes we shall not see again. He was a maverick, by and large a loner and totally original in his thinking. He was a genius, plain and simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

WTF? This is not the way my late friend Petr Beckmann talked about other physicists. He just referred to the work. I don't think he ever referenced Feynman, but Arthur Robinson holds him in extremely high regard as a teacher, at least. What's this sugaring gas tank business? It sounds like something scientologists would do.

--Brant

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I say this because like in life generally the nice guy doesn’t always finish first. The nice guy in this context would be someone playing science straight. Like any society the vast majority are likely playing it fairly straight but are easily led around by a small group who have emerged as leaders or known voices of the consensus or orthodoxy.

I wonder who led Richard Feynman. I doubt whether anyone did and if they did it was not easy. Feynman was a "one of". A sui generis persons, whose likes we shall not see again. He was a maverick, by and large a loner and totally original in his thinking. He was a genius, plain and simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

WTF? This is not the way my late friend Petr Beckmann talked about other physicists. He just referred to the work. I don't think he ever referenced Feynman, but Arthur Robinson holds him in extremely high regard as a teacher, at least. What's this sugaring gas tank business? It sounds like something scientologists would do.

--Brant

No literal sugar in the gastank - intellectual sabotage around the edges - keeping up appearances while sculpting mud like a world class politician.

Dennis

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Dennis, that's an interesting point but I'd need some concrete examples and what is extreme about them to more clearly understand or appreciate it.

A few examples:

One guy I knew could party all night long - once slept with 39 different women in one month doing the bar pick-up scene, was a former professional racecar driver with a room full of trophies, had been a drug dealer, and would wait until one day before the test to even crack a book, read it and go in cold and get an A in most cases. Later I learned that the flash in the pan method of learning got him through undergraduate but just a few years later he couldn't remember the basics he had "learned" in college.

One guy in graduate school was a tri-athlete, marathon runner, and was getting his black belt while working on his PhD in physics. He looked like a men’s model. By all accounts he was very modest.

Having a black belt was all the rage among students and professors alike among the ones I knew in the 80’s and 90’s.

I met one guy who could play any song on piano after hearing it once and was entirely self-taught, one guy could memorize entire pages of numbers, another could do square roots to 8 decimals in his head and other similar calculations, one guy spent part of his time in the nut-house where I once saw him while working as a guard there, one killed himself after his PhD got delayed again (one of my undergraduate professors had his best friend at Caltech do the same), one senior engineering professor went off the deep end and spent all of his money and time buying up stolen handguns and shooting them in his basement for no apparent reason, one PhD guy I worked with – civilian in the Air Force - killed himself over a hair transplant [looked like rows of corn].

I really didn’t know that many people in physics – I’m sure Ellen Stuttle has probably met a great many more and might have a few interesting observations.

Dennis

Good God, Dennis! It sounds like these brainiacs didn't get properly mentored in childhood and adolescence. My Father was like that. He became a drunk.

--Brant

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Dennis, that's an interesting point but I'd need some concrete examples and what is extreme about them to more clearly understand or appreciate it.

A few examples:

One guy I knew could party all night long - once slept with 39 different women in one month doing the bar pick-up scene, was a former professional racecar driver with a room full of trophies, had been a drug dealer, and would wait until one day before the test to even crack a book, read it and go in cold and get an A in most cases. Later I learned that the flash in the pan method of learning got him through undergraduate but just a few years later he couldn't remember the basics he had "learned" in college.

One guy in graduate school was a tri-athlete, marathon runner, and was getting his black belt while working on his PhD in physics. He looked like a men’s model. By all accounts he was very modest.

Having a black belt was all the rage among students and professors alike among the ones I knew in the 80’s and 90’s.

I met one guy who could play any song on piano after hearing it once and was entirely self-taught, one guy could memorize entire pages of numbers, another could do square roots to 8 decimals in his head and other similar calculations, one guy spent part of his time in the nut-house where I once saw him while working as a guard there, one killed himself after his PhD got delayed again (one of my undergraduate professors had his best friend at Caltech do the same), one senior engineering professor went off the deep end and spent all of his money and time buying up stolen handguns and shooting them in his basement for no apparent reason, one PhD guy I worked with – civilian in the Air Force - killed himself over a hair transplant [looked like rows of corn].

I really didn’t know that many people in physics – I’m sure Ellen Stuttle has probably met a great many more and might have a few interesting observations.

Dennis

Good God, Dennis! It sounds like these brainiacs didn't get properly mentored in childhood and adolescence. My Father was like that. He became a drunk.

--Brant

I don't disagree - I met many disfunctional people in physics. I suspect in many cases it is a means of dealing with other problems.

Dennis

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I disagree that Feynman' intellect even equals J.S. Bell - his contemporary. Feynman certainly had skills across many disciplines but that is like comparing a lightweight boxer who wins across many weight classes over a long period of time - the heavy weight Bell comes along and Feynman avoids ever fighting him directly. Instead he and his posse cut his tires, sugar his gas tank, beat up his friends and loved ones, and loudly proclaim how the heavy weight is afraid to fight him. Bell knew what was going on.

Dennis

When, where and how was Feynman in a struggle with J. S. Bell? Details please.

Ba'al Chatzaf

After Bohr died Feynman became the primary voice for the indetermistic point of view in QM. His lectures on the subject were parroted across classrooms from that point on. I never saw Feynman directly address the work of Bell but when Bell discussed the "scandal within physics" the intellectual leader of the scandal would be Feynman by implication. Feynman was not as obvious as Bohr but a good politician does not get his hands dirty if he doesn't have to.

Dennis

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I never saw Feynman directly address the work of Bell but when Bell discussed the "scandal within physics" the intellectual leader of the scandal would be Feynman by implication. Feynman was not as obvious as Bohr but a good politician does not get his hands dirty if he doesn't have to.

Dennis

Feynman didn't say it explicitly did he? He wasn't implying. You are inferring, unless of course you are a mental telepathist.

You have a marvelous talent for confusing your opinions with fact.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I never saw Feynman directly address the work of Bell but when Bell discussed the "scandal within physics" the intellectual leader of the scandal would be Feynman by implication. Feynman was not as obvious as Bohr but a good politician does not get his hands dirty if he doesn't have to.

Dennis

Feynman didn't say it explicitly did he? He wasn't implying. You are inferring, unless of course you are a mental telepathist.

You have a marvelous talent for confusing your opinions with fact.

Ba'al Chatzaf

During more or less my entire life until he died Feynman was the leader of a movement [indeterministic QM].

His lectures were repeated or parroted in physics undergraduate classrooms everywhere without criitical comment.

In fact to question that point of view got me scolded [and lied to]. The work of J.S. Bell was well known starting

right after Bohr died and Feynman inherited the torch. From 1964 to this very day the movement Feynman lead

distorted Bell's work and prevented by many means the teaching of alternatives on equally sound footing - this

is what Bell called a "scandal within physics". Feynman was the leader of that movement and did nothing to

stop the scandal. Cramer mentioned Feynman had a change of heart before he died but decided not to act on

it - so nothing got resolved. Feynman protected his nest to the end and few understand the damage he and his

posse have done to physics. What is the legacy now? String Theory which has produced absolutely zero progress

for an entire "lost" generation. What was the critical error leading to an entire lost generation - the sabotage of

Bell's legacy - the poster child of the scandal is the popular teacher Feynman who never got his hands directly

dirty. He didn't need to.

Dennis

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Feynman was the leader of that movement and did nothing to

stop the scandal.

Feynman leader of a movement????? He was a man who marched to the beat of his own drum. He was about as unleader a man as ever existed. He cared for what interested him and he did not lead a parade. The man was far to self-absorbed to lead anything. This according to people who claimed to know him or about him. I am going according to Gleich and Krauss who wrote biographies of Feynman.

Richard Feynman's physics may have been subtle but he appeared to those who knew him first hand as a fairly blunt individual. He appeared to have have few nuances. He clowned about (a matter of public record) and he was loud (I know this because I attended one lecture he gave a long time ago). How he ever survived at Princeton which is in the Land of the Goyim, I cannot comprehend. The man appeared to have had no couth. You couldn't take him anywhere.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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