Monday, April 11, 2011

How Richard Feynman Thought (About Women)

It's covered in the Feynman biographies that the Nobel Prize winning physicist was quite a womanizer. This comes to mind because of a post at Freakonomics that discusses how Feynman thought. It's an interesting post well worth reading, but I also think it skips an important point about Feynman. He was always thinking, even when it wasn't about physics.

He regularly visited strip clubs (Once when a strip club that he frequented was under threat of being shutdown by authorities, he testified in court that the strip club created value for the community). He claimed he never tipped the girls at the clubs and rather got them to buy him sandwiches after they finished work. I believe this.

If you read Feynman biographies, especially those that contain correspondence of his, back and forth with various women, you begin to see a pattern of women writing to him saying things along the line of, "I am sure I could be your muse."

This is an odd thing to show up in more than one letter to Feynman, from various different women. I suspect Feynman had the "neg" figured out before the term "neg" was even invented. With these women he must have been saying something to them along the line that what he was after was a woman that could be his muse. Thus, gently negging them by implying that they weren't muse material. This, of course, drove them crazy and obviously stuck in their mind, since they would end up writing to Feynman about being his muse. And so now you see why Feynman really did deserve the Nobel Prize, he figured out women ages ago.


  1. which book by/about Feynman would you most recommend?

  2. A man who gets strippers to buy him things is some kind of genius, indeed.