Friday, June 23, 2006

Richard Feynman, my bf

I think that now, while we're waiting together for the launch of STS-121, is a good time to tell you about my private boyfriend, Richard Feynman. What is a private boyfriend, you ask? Well, it's a relationship entirely distinct from the one I share with my Associate (which relationship involves actually knowing each other and, as it happens, a marriage certificate). It simply means that I heart him.
Look at this picture of him at a televised hearing of the Presidential Commission on the space shuttle Challenger. He'd just soaked a piece of O-ring in his glass of ice water in order to demonstrate that when cold, rubber gets brittle and squeaky and allows rocket fuel to burn blowtorch-like holes in the sides of External Tanks full of more rocket fuel. The best part is that, as he's holding up this chilled O-ring for the cameras, he goes, all casual, "I believe this might have something to do with your problem." Damn he's smoov.

So what if the O-ring thing wasn't really his insight, but that of co-Commisioner General Kutyna? Only my private bf could have pulled off the moment with quite this dramatic and irascible bravado.

I should probably mention that he's most famous for his work on quark theory, coming up with the idea of nanotechnology, starring in Calthech's production of King Lear, and entertaining people with amusing quotables such as, "Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it."

Let's look at him in younger years. Here is, I'm not kidding you scholars, in his Nobel-Prize portrait.

Damn baby.

Doesn't he look like he's about to lead a big band? Or win the girl using nothing but Brylcreem and snappy dialogue?

Another time I'll tell you all about my other private bf, Daniel Schorr.

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