Richard Feynman – Problem Solving
Richard Feynman was one of the greatest problem solvers of the 20th century and loved being puzzled and solving puzzles, a quality that made him a legendary physicist. To be good at science is to be good at being puzzled and seeing puzzles in everyday phenomena that are taken for granted, allowing you to see what is right in front of you in a new and exciting point of view. This allows for huge developments and innovations that are completely different from anything before.
One of the 3 winners of the 1965 Nobel prize in Physics for his work, Feynman is was an expert on quantum mechanics and developed the Path Integral formulation of Relativistic Quantum mechanics, used in Quantum Field Theory, interpreted the Born series of scattering amplitudes as vertices and Green’s function propagators in his famous diagrams, the Feynman Diagrams, and also worked on the fundamental excitations in Liquid Helium leading to a correct model describing superfluidity using phonons, maxons and rotons to describe the various excitation curves.
During the Manhatten Project, Richard Feynman performed theoretical calculations on the first nuclear weapons developed during the Manhatten project with his supervisor Hans Bethe. They extended Serber’s original formula for the yield of a nuclear weapon and developed the Bethe-Feynman formula, which is still classified by the US government even today.
Other fields of work include the Wheeler-Feynman Absorber Theory for Electromagnetic Radiation, developed with his colleague John A. Wheeler, which was the first attempt to create a theory of electromagnetism that obeys time-reversal theory.
He also developed the Feynman-Hellmann Theorem, which can be formulated from his own Path Intregral interpretation and relate the derivative of the total energy of any system to the expectation value of the derivative of the Hamiltonian with respect to a single parameter, e.g volume.
This theory makes possible the calculation of the intramolecular forces of individual molecule in terms of the electronic density (ρ(r)) and the atomic coordinates and nuclear charges of the individual atoms. This, simulated on computers, allows dynamical molecular and quantum systems to be simulated on powerful computers. Such technology is only beginning to have applications in the fields of simulating how proteins fold, how to design drugs that act specifically on biochemical processes and how to simulate quantum logic and computation, something Feynman had predicted long before before the first atomic traps were invented.
Feynman was also a huge visionary in the fields of nanotechnology and small scale manufacturing, something which has led to the modern age and continues to accelerate to new developments in human civilization today.