Richard Feynman

If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.

I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.

Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.

Science is what we have learned about how not to fool ourselves about the way the world is.

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1 Response to Richard Feynman

  1. shinichi says:

    Talk:Richard Feynman

    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Richard_Feynman

    “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”

    The quote, exact words, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” is very very widely attributed to Feynman– at the moment, a full-phrase exact match search on that in Google hits “about 16,500” pages. Skimming them, almost all attribute it to him by name (the remaining few just say “as a famous physicist once said”, etc.; none seem to attribute it to anyone else)…

    This is absolutely Feynman. He says it in a university lecture called The Character of Physical Law – (Anon 2014)

    And the wording is very much in his style, and the content sure is…

    And me and about 16,500 of my closest friends think it’s an excellent quote!…

    But I can’t find anywhere that actually gives a source! What to do?

    It sounds like something he went around saying. Maybe he could be caught saying it in Six (Not So) Easy Pieces? Or someone could find an actual colleague having written “As Dr. Feynmann often said… [or once said to me, etc.]”?

    Any help appreciated. — Sburke 15:19, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

    This is probably a paraphrase of the quote attributed to Niels Bohr: “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.” ~ Ningauble 15:52, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

    I am familiar with this quote, but I’m not sure this is the form I originally heard it in: “There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there ever was such a time. There might have been a time when only one man did, because he was the only guy who caught on, before he wrote his paper. But after people read the paper a lot of people understood the theory of relativity in some way or other, certainly more than twelve. On the other hand, I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/02/15/is-relativity-hard/

    The quote above is earlier than Feynman. It is attributed to Niels Bohr (sorry, this is in Danish (Bohr was Danish, too)) Also found this variation (my translation from Danish: »Hvis man kan sætte sig ind i kvantemekanik uden at blive svimmel, har man ikke forstået noget af det,«) “If you can fathom quantum mechanics without getting dizzy, you don’t get it”: http://videnskab.dk/teknologi/et-kvantebitte-spring-naermere-supercomputeren They also have a Feynman-quote in that article

    “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” —Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1995), 129. JKeck (talk) 10:56, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

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