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The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist Audiobook, by Richard P. Feynman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Richard P. Feynman Narrator: Raymond Todd Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2007 ISBN: 9781481544313
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Many appreciate Richard P. Feynman’s contributions to twentieth-century physics, but few realize how engaged he was with the world around him—how deeply and thoughtfully he considered the religious, political, and social issues of his day. In this collection of lectures that Richard Feynman originally gave in 1963, unpublished during his lifetime, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist discusses several mega questions of science. What is the nature of the tension between science and religious faith? Why does uncertainty play such a crucial role in the scientific imagination? Is this really a scientific age? What explains our universal fascination with flying saucers, faith healing, and telepathy?

Marked by Feynman’s characteristic combination of rationality and humor, these lectures provide an intimate glimpse at the man behind the legend. At the start of his final lecture he says, “I dedicate this lecture to showing what ridiculous conclusions and rare statements such a man as myself can make.” Rare, perhaps, and irreverent, sure. But ridiculous? Not even close.

This is quintessential Feynman—reflective, amusing, and ever enlightening.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Feynman was a stranger to pomposity, and there’s some splendid stuff here. Perhaps the most striking thing is his rare appreciation of the deep connections linking science and democracy.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Richard Feynman was a man of many reputations: brilliant physicist, charismatic teacher, irrepressible raconteur, and…unforgettable character...When Feynman describes the scientist as an acrobat walking ‘beautiful tightropes of logic,’ we understand how a generation of young physicists might have been drawn to follow this brilliant Pied Piper out onto the wire, high above the crowd.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Feynman’s voice and personality come through clearly. He talks about real people and their problems, not about philosophical abstractions. He is interested in religion as a way for people to make sense of their lives, but he is not interested in theology.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “It requires an unusually strong intellect to remain relevant on a wide variety of social, religious and political issues after thirty-five years. Feynman, a Nobel Prize–winning physicist, had just such an intellect...These memorable lectures confirm that Feynman’s gift of insight extended from the subatomic world to the cosmic, and to the very human as well.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Now a new generation of readers can sample vintage Feynman on science, religion, morals, and politics. The voice—plain, no-nonsense—is unmistakable; the ideas, too, will be familiar: Feynman is ever the honest and passionate spokesman for science...One of the charms of the late Feynman is that, in his passion to explain, he opened his extraordinary mind to full view by the audience. In this case the audience can and should include students of all ages.”

    Kirkus Reviews (Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection) 

  • A National bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Enrico | 1/29/2011

    " Grande Feynman: nessuno come lui riesce a spiegare con tanta facilità l'importanza e la bellezza della scienza (soprattutto a chi come me è difficile da convincere ;-) ); peccato che sugli argomenti religiosi resti superficiale: dal geniale nobel mi aspettavo qualcosa di più. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cahlen | 11/29/2010

    " Pretty much verbatim dictation of a 3-part lecture series. Very good. Although, Feynman tends to ramble. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jose | 5/29/2010

    " good audio book, unabridged, but probably better if i read it. obvious feynman is genius, but refers to russia as backwards... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nazmul | 5/7/2010

    " Unnecessarily pro-American and pro-Israeli, and focused merely on some aspects of government in proliferation and suppression of science. But provides some clear explanation of basic scientific concepts. I wasn't able to relate the title and content much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Libby | 1/12/2010

    " more life-philosophizing than I predicted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 1/5/2010

    " Feynman is the fuckin man. Moving to his lectures on physics now. Pray for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 12/31/2009

    " These are a series of physics lectures that have been converted to a book form. He gives his take on the implications of his findings on other fields such as religion and politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Skip | 12/28/2009

    " Like most of his publications, this is a series of three lectures on the relation of science and religion. Witty and provocative. "

About the Author

Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988) earned a BS from MIT and a PhD from Princeton. From 1942 to 1945, he assisted with the development of the atomic bomb. He then taught at Cornell and Caltech, where he contributed to the theories of superfluidity and quarks. He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for work on the theory of quantum electrodynamics.

About the Narrator

Raymond Todd is an actor and director in the theater as well as a poet and documentary filmmaker. He plays jazz trombone for the Leatherstocking quartet, an ensemble that gets its name from one of his favorite Blackstone narrations, The Deerslayer. Todd lives in New York.