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Lot #98
Richard Feynman Handwritten Manuscript - the Nobel Prize-winning physicist employs Runge-Kutta methods

Dual-sided Feynman manuscript sheet with Runge-Kutta methods

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Estimate: $10000+
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UPDATE: Updated to reflect the correct provenance: Part of Lot 90, The History of Science and Technology Including the Nobel Prize and Papers of Richard P. Feynman, Sotheby's, November 30, 2018.


Description

Dual-sided Feynman manuscript sheet with Runge-Kutta methods

Exceedingly rare handwritten manuscript by Richard Feynman, unsigned, no date, penned neatly in red and black ballpoint on both sides of an off-white 5.75 x 8.25 sheet. The mathematical manuscript illustrates how a computer program can approximate a solution to a differential equation using a first-order Runge-Kutta method and a second-order Runge-Kutta method. Both sides also include flow diagrams and a numbered sequence of computer commands. In fine condition. Developed around 1900 by German mathematicians Carl Runge and Martin Kutta, the Runge-Kutta methods are a group of iterative methods that include the Euler Method, a routine devised by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, to arrive at approximate solutions of ordinary differential equations. A magnificent opportunity to own a rare two-page handwritten manuscript from one of physics' most brilliant minds. Provenance: Part of Lot 90, The History of Science and Technology Including the Nobel Prize and Papers of Richard P. Feynman, Sotheby's, November 30, 2018.

Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was born in New York City into a Lithuanian Jewish family who were not religious. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939 and a doctorate in 1942 from Princeton University, where he studied under John Archibald Wheeler. In March 1943, Feynman joined the Manhattan Project in work on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he was a group leader in the Theoretical Division. After the war, Feynman joined the physics faculty at Cornell University. At a 1948 conference, he first used his namesake 'Feynman diagrams,' pictorial representations of the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles. Initially rejected, Feynman diagrams ultimately revolutionized nearly every aspect of theoretical physics.

As a formal language, Feynman diagrams are applied primarily to quantum field theory but can also be used in solid-state theory. After spending a sabbatical year in Brazil, Feynman joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology in 1952, where he became a popular professor and advisor to dozens of graduate students. He also popularized physics through lectures, often published as books. He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for their 'fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics.'

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #680 - Ended December 06, 2023