A revealing documentary film by a Lincoln professor will tell the incredible life story of one of the 20th century’s most extraordinary scientists, Richard Feynman.
Coinciding with what would have been his 95th birthday; ‘The Fantastic Mr Feynman’ celebrates the brilliance of the Nobel Prize winning physicist, and explores the reality of his curious relationship with the world around him.
The film is produced and directed by Dr. Christopher Riley, Visiting Professor of Science and Media at the University of Lincoln, and was created in conjunction with The Open University. It will premiere this weekend on BBC2.
It honours the man renowned for his pioneering work on the Manhattan Project, which developed the atom bomb, and for his contributions to the theory of quantum electrodynamics, which revolutionised the field of physics.
In 1965, Feynman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics; however it was his insatiable curiosity about the world in general that made him a truly unusual character, and that Dr Riley brings to light in his latest documentary.
Throughout his life, Feynman rejected authority and refused to conform, preferring instead to follow his passions – from bongo playing to biology, from poetry to painting, from computing to cracking safes. In his dying days, as a maverick investigator on The Challenger shuttle disaster inquiry, he even confronted the Washington establishment to reveal the truth about what had gone wrong.
Dr Riley said: “The work Richard Feynman did – putting the finishing touches to a theory which remains the most successful law of nature yet discovered, ranks him as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. But as I found while making this new documentary about him for the BBC, his curiosity knew no bounds, and his passion for explaining his scientific view of the world was highly contagious.”
Dr Riley’s documentary draws on rich archive footage, which includes interviews with Feynman himself, together with revealing new interviews with his closest friends and family. Dr Riley also spoke to Feynman’s children and his sister, Joan, as well as personal friends and leading scientists to provide an exclusive insight into the physicist’s life.
Dr Riley continued: “Getting to glimpse Feynman’s genius through those who loved him, lived and worked with him, I grew to regret never having met him; to share first-hand what so many others described as their ‘time with Feynman’.
“But as Richard Feynman said himself, before his death in the late 1980s, he’d told so many stories that he wouldn’t ever really go away. And I hope this new film about him has contributed in a small way to bringing all those stories he told to a new generation.”
In his own words and those of the people that knew him best, ‘The Fantastic Mr Feynman’ tells the story of a man recognised as one of the most captivating communicators in the history of science. It will premiere on BBC2 this Sunday 12th May at 9pm.