Randy Pausch and Richard Feynman   January 11th, 2011

I recently finished reading¬†The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, the memoirs of the CS professor who gave a moving lecture after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s a nice collection of essays and memoirs, dramatic and inspiring. It has the wisdom and creativity of one adept at engineering, both technical and social. Reading of his work in Virtual Reality and the sabbaticals he did at video game companies and at Disney Imagineering was fantastic.

I was also recently reminded of physicist Richard Feynman, autobiography,¬†Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman which I read in college. I started re-reading it today and have been enjoying that as well. Like Randy Pausch, Richard Feynman is an entertaining character. Both men are brilliant and smart, but not just with standard “book learning.”

They both show creative insight and love of solving puzzles, but also demonstrate a social knowledge which a lot of smarter people don’t always have. Pausch used that to teach his students how to be better collaborators and Feynman used social engineering along with his love of pranks to have lots of good-natured but devilish fun. I’m looking forward to reading about his time at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project, where he became a master safe-cracker, among other things.

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