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Thread: Richard Feynman explains: What keeps a train on the track?

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    Jon
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    Richard Feynman explains: What keeps a train on the track?

    Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman explains what keeps a train on the track.

    2:26 video:




    Previously:

    Janney semi-automatic railway coupler - GIF and patent
    railway construction machine GIF
    wartime railway and train sabotage techniques
    Making an anvil from a railroad rail GIF

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    One of the great minds of our time! I think he was stuck at being 10 years old for his entire life.

    Rick
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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    My ascender...

    Rolling uphill

    demonstrates the RR wheel effect vividly. The video doesn't show it because I put the double cone on the tracks nicely orthogonal. If the ascender is placed crookedly, the varying rolling speeds induced at the two ends of the ascender will quickly make it straighten out and roll parallel to the rails.

    As a kid, I knew from "helping" my Dad with car repairs that the wheels had to turn at different speeds when turning. So, the first time I saw a box-car truck close-up I was puzzled. My Dad didn't know enough physics to explain it to me so I had to wait until my sophomore year in college when we studied rotating bodies for the penny to drop.

    Feynman guest lectured a few times while I was at Tech. He was an absolute delight. It was as if he was telling you a wonderful story and you couldn't wait until he revealed the next detail of the plot. It was the way physics should be taught.

    Read any of his books. They are a revealing peek into the mind of a genius with a distinctive, impish, mischievous mind mixed with a no-nonsense approach to physics that could penetrate to the core of a problem in a twinkling.
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    Marv,

    My favorite: "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out".

    I did talk to a guy that was going for his Phd and did his orals with Feynman in the room. Apparently he didn't suffer fools well. By "fools" I mean people not as smart as he was.

    Rick
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    Goin to San Francisco Going to play my bongos in the dirt!
    Thanks Richard F and Thanks Frank Z

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgsparber View Post
    Marv,

    My favorite: "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out".

    I did talk to a guy that was going for his Phd and did his orals with Feynman in the room. Apparently he didn't suffer fools well. By "fools" I mean people not as smart as he was.
    I think he recognized that few could be as intelligent as he was but he was indeed put off by people who did not use what intelligence they had to the full extent. A hint of this is something he said while summing up his work on the Challenger explosion...

    For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

    Another of his favorite sayings in the classroom...

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool.

    seems to hint at this idea as well.
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    Jon
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    Following a lecture, Feynman indulges in a conga drum rendition of "Orange Juice". I believe this was recorded somewhat shortly before his death from cancer in 1988.



    Feynman was an amateur but highly enthusiastic drummer. It is rumored that one of his wives left him in part because of his incessant bongo playing. His percussionist leanings, combined with his appreciation of the ladies, and of course the Nobel Prize bit, led to this excellent What Would Richard Feynman Do? flowchart:


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    I suppose one could say that, except for that intuitive comprehension of quantum electrodynamics, Einstein award and Nobel prize business, Richard never completely outgrew his adolescence. :-)
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    I'm not so sure one really should completely out grow their adolescence. Many who were considered to posses extraordinarily high intellectual skills or inventive abilities . were looked upon with scorn by society at large because of certain characteristic traits they exhibited. Which were considered flaws by society in mass.
    These so called flaws or unwillingness to conform to societal norm very possibly may be part of the trigger mechanism which allows their creative intuitiveness to flourish.
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    Why train wheels have conical geometry.


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