A great autobiography: Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!
If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?
All things are made out of atoms, little particles that move around, are in perpetual motion, attract each other when they're some distance apart but repel being squeezed into one another
David Deautsh story on how quickly Feynman reached same conclusions that Deautsh was developing for months
I started telling him about quantum computers. He was very quick, he was very interested, and then he said, “So what can these computers do?” I said, “Well, I’ve been working on a quantum algorithm.” And he said, “What?” So I began to tell him about it. I said, “Supposing you had a superposition of two different initial states.” He said, “Well, then you just get random numbers.” And I said, “Yes, but supposing you then do an interference experiment.” I started to continue, and he said, “No, no, stop, stop. Let me work it out.” And he rushed over to the blackboard and he produced my algorithm with almost no hint of where it was going.
SH: So how much work did that represent? How much work did he recapitulate standing at the blackboard?
DD: I don’t know, because it’s hard to say how much of a clue the few words I said were. But the crude measure is a few months. A better measure is that I was flabbergasted. I had never seen anything like this before, and I had been interacting with some extremely smart people.