Book notes
Six Easy Pieces

Six Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman

Read in December 2018

"Observation, reason, and experiment make up what we call the scientific method."

Everything we know is only some kind of approximation, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. Therefore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected.

Atoms in Motion

All things are made of atoms—little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.

When we compress a gas slowly, the temperature of the gas increases. So, under slow compression, a gas will increase in temperature, and under slow expansion it will decrease in temperature.

If we blow on the water so as to maintain a continuous preponderance in the number evaporating, then the water is cooled. Hence, blow on soup to cool it! since those that leave have more energy than the average, the ones that are left have less average motion than they had before. So the liquid gradually cools if it evaporates.

Basic Physics

Curiosity demands that we ask questions, that we try to put things together and try to understand this multitude of aspects as perhaps resulting from the action of a relatively small number of elemental things and forces acting in an infinite variety of combinations.

Observation, reason, and experiment make up what we call the scientific method.

Relation of Physics to Other Sciences

The central problem of the mind, if you will, or the nervous system, is this: when an animal learns something, it can do something different than it could before, and its brain cell must have changed too, if it is made out of atoms.

In what way is it different?

We do not know where to look, or what to look for, when something is memorized.

We do not know what it means, or what change there is in the nervous system, when a fact is learned. This is a very important problem which has not been solved at all.

Conversation of Energy

  • gravitational potential energy
  • kinetic energy
  • elastic energy
  • heat energy
  • electrical energy
  • chemical energy

Theory of Gravitation

What is this law of gravitation? It is that every object in the universe attracts every other object with a force which for any two bodies is proportional to the mass of each and varies inversely as the square of the distance between them.

Kepler’s Laws

First of all, Kepler found that each planet goes around the sun in a curve called an ellipse, with the sun at a focus of the ellipse.

Kepler’s second observation was that the planets do not go around the sun at a uniform speed, but move faster when they are nearer the sun and more slowly when they are farther from the sun

Quantum Behavior

“Quantum mechanics” is the description of the behavior of matter in all its details and, in particular, of the happenings on an atomic scale.

Things on a very small scale behave like nothing that you have any direct experience about.

They do not behave like waves, they do not behave like particles, they do not behave like clouds, or billiard balls, or weights on springs, or like anything that you have ever seen.


Crash Course Physics - Quantum Mechanics

TED-Ed - Chad Orzel