Courtesy of Corbis-Bettmann

Richard Phillips Feynman 1918-1988

A physicist, teacher, storyteller, and musician, Richard Feynman came to dominate the field of physics in the late twentieth century and made science more accessible to the public. Best known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, which mathematically describes how electrically charged particles interact, Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for work tying together elements of light, radio, electricity, and magnetism. The schematic drawings he devised to describe particle interactions, now known as Feynman diagrams, helped to make him one of the most widely known scientists in the world. Long associated with the California Institute of Technology, Feynman served on the presidential commission investigating the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986.