Well read books in the library

I asked myself - which books have had the most use in Imperial College's physics library?  Judging the books by their covers, Richard Feynman's lectures are nominees.


Feynman - do I see less or more?

'The stars are made of the same atoms as the earth.

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms.

Nothing is “mere”.

I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them.

But do I see less or more?

The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination – stuck on this little carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light.

A vast pattern – of which I am part – perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star, as one is belching there.

Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together.

What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why?

It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it.

For far more marvellous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined!

Why do the poets of the present not speak of it?

What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia be silent?'


RP Feynman, “Lectures on Physics”


Nabokov chosen by Feynman: 'Space is a swarming in the eyes; and time a singing in the ears'

A quote by Vladimir Nabokov found in Richard Feynman's hand written notes.

Feynman on time:

"It may prove useful in physics to consider events in all of time at once and to imagine that we at each instant are only aware of those that lie behind us."  We stand on a dividing line from which the future is invisible.  Can nature travel across and back?

"How would such a path appear to someone whose future gradually became past through a moving present?..."