"Glorious."- Wall Street Journal
Isaac Newton, in his Principia Mathematica (1687), proved Johannes Kepler's law explaining why planets travel in elliptical orbits around the Sun. In 1964, theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, the bestselling author and Nobel Prize winner, set forth his own proof of Kepler's law, using only plane geometry. Feynman's difficult proof, presented in an introductory lecture to Caltech undergraduates, never made it into the classic multivolume Feynman Lectures on Physics, published between 1963 and 1965, but California Institute of Technology archivist Judith Goodstein unearthed the transcript of Feynman's 1964 lecture, published here along with explanatory commentary and historical background, plus 25 photographs and 150 diagrams. Caltech physics professor David Goodstein, Feynman's friend and colleague until the latter's death in 1988, provides a warm reminiscence and does a good job of explaining how quantum physics and relativity supplanted Newtonian science. (May)
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February 16, 2000
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