The Amateur Scientist Essay

This essay has a total of 786 words and 4 pages.

The Amateur Scientist


I was on my way to work, when I started to read this interesting story and I don't deny
that I was a little sceptical in the beginning. But the more I read, the more I wanted to
know about this man and his unique ways to define Science. I finished reading it in about
15 minutes, it literally sucked me in.


This is an attempt to analyze and explain to the "audience," what my personal point of
view is regarding this great genius, great mind, great scientist Richard Feynman. Defined
by his colleagues as the "The brightest mind since Einstein," he explains how he used
everyday tools to make scientific discoveries. How he describes his methods in a simple
way makes science enjoyable and understandable, even to the average reader.


I enjoyed reading the essay entitled "The Amateur Scientist," by Nobel prize-winning
physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988). I found it to be very interesting and felt that Mr.
Feynman was very thoughtful. Rather than explain in technical detail about his work in
physics, Feynman instead related interesting anecdotes throughout his life, as a college
student and graduate student at Princeton University, that gave to the reader an
understanding of his work as a scientist.


The writing won my attention because his stories about his youth and his days at Princeton
fascinated me. He was always exploring his environment to learn new things about science,
especially how things worked. Feynman's thirst for clever things to do and clever ways to
do ordinary things were remarkable.


One of the best anecdotes that illustrate this point, was his experience at Princeton
detailing ants' behavior. Feynman was constantly searching for the connection between
hypothesis and truth, so one day at Princeton he started to observe the ants' that were
coming out on his windowsill. The experiment with the ants is a reflection of this man's
mind, always in search for an answer. In this anecdote Feynman explains how, with only a
bit of sugar, and a couple of pieces of paper, he was able to find out many things about
ants' behaviors. Feynman compares his study on the ants with the same kind of "experiment"
he performed in Brazil, observing leaf-cutting ants. The author pointed out that, although
the Brazilian ants seemed to be smarter, there are still some affinities with domestic
ants. It is remarkable how Feynman discovered that ants have no sense of "geometry," the
goal of his experiment was to determine whether or not ants have some kind of
communication and if they have the ability to find their way back where the "food" was.


In another part of the essay, Feynman describes how he passed his time in the "lab" when
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