Richard Feynman is one of the unsung heroes of physics. Few people, including myself before this reading, would have recognized his name, yet he worked on the Manhattan Project, won the Novel Prize in physics, was the first big-name physicist to teach freshman courses, and was part of the panel who identified the problem with the o-rings that led to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. In fact, he was the one who figured out it was the o-rings. With all of that said, why is he such an unknown?
This graphic novel biography of Feynman brings you through his life, sharing his education and his personal relationships with the reader. He was a genius (literally!) in his own right, and he belongs as a peer with so many of the people who or mentioned in the book as being people he worked with, including Einstein, Oppenheimer, Watson, and so many others.
I was surprised at how much I really did enjoy this book. I was never a big fan of most sciences, particularly those that rely heavily on mathematics. There are few sciences for which that can be said more strongly than physics, particularly the theoretical physics that Feynman practiced. With that said, this book really brings his work to life. It tries to break down his theories to the point that the average reader can get a basic understanding. Ironically, that is one of the things that Feynman was well-known for. He was good at breaking concepts, such as QED, down in ways that anyone could grasp it ... at least, as well as anyone can fully grasp it.
I thought the accompanying illustrations provided by Myrick were really well drawn. While they are simple in form, the reader can clearly differentiate between the various people being presented, as each has his or her own feel or look. The illustrations also become particularly important during the presentation of Feynman's theories and work.
While he often struggled in his romantic life because of his dedication to his work, Feynman comes across as a friendly and very funny guy. I would think it would be really easy to like him. I also found it really easy to like the book. I am sure that it won't have mass appeal because of the subject matter, but I think that those who will take the chance to give it a try will find themselves pleasantly surprised.