Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

American physicist, born on 11 May 1918 in New York, USA. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Princeton University, where he became involved in the atomic bomb project. In 1945 he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cornell University. In 1950 he moved to the California Institute of Technology, where he spent the remainder of his career.

Feynman was one of the main developers of quantum electrodynamics (QED), which combines quantum physics and electromagnetic theories. He developed Feynman diagrams as a visual way of representing quantum interactions. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965. He was a member of the committee that investigated the cause of the 1986 loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Feynman was an enthusiastic populariser of physics, writing books including Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman! and The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. He died on 15 February 1988 in Los Angeles, USA.