The Pleasure of Finding Things Out – By @Benedicttatham

Benedict Tatham

By Benedict Tatham


The Pleasure of Finding Things Out


So I’ve been bed bound for the last few days and late last night I came across a short BBC Horizon documentary (45mins) called, ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out’ (1981). 

It’s basically an interview with one of the best-known scientists in the world Richard Feynman. 

Feynman won a Noble-Prize for his theory of quantum electrodynamics. 

But don’t worry he doesn’t go into too much detail about the science behind it. Except what is compelling about this interview is Feynman’s natural ability to explain complex theory through everyday terms.

This is apparently why, ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out’ is hailed as a must see for anyone studying the sciences or the arts because it’s not so much what he knows, it’s how he knows it.

This way of seeing things can mainly be accredited to his upbringing and his relationship with his father.

For example, he reminisces how as a child he and his father used to sit down everyday with an Encyclopaedia Britannia and just pick something out from it. 

After having read the details of the subject they would then take immense pleasure in applying it to everyday life.

For instance if it was a Seismosaurus, they would then ask each other, “Well, that would mean, it could probably see through our bedroom window…but it’s likely that it would get it’s head stuck if it tried to go through it.”

It was this projected imagination that allowed him to remember things so well, but it would also in later life make him one of the most renowned and inspirational lecturers the subject has ever had.

It was taking these principles of play into later life that would eventually make him not only famous but respected forever more; his theory of quantum electrodynamics.

Depressed and lonely, after having lost his wife and having hit rock bottom, he decided that he was going to release himself of all the pressures in science for discovering something new.

Instead, his only goal was simply to play. In this playful state he gained back his natural curiosity for things and one day sitting outside a cafe he became curious of a boy who kept throwing his plate up into the air. 

He was fascinated by the way the outer wobble seemed to be rotating at half the speed of the inner circle. So he got investigating and sure enough after some thorough examination he made a great leap in scientific theory that has proved invaluable for future discoveries in his field.

All he did was become a child again, sound familiar SCA?

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