FEYNMAN AND THE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION

Polar s.meric at ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 29 20:00:25 EST 1996


In <4eiq6h$irq at caesar.ultra.net> Marc Andelman
<drgonfly at biosource.ultranet.com> writes: 
>
>> Chistra McAuliff was my neighbor in Framingham , MA.  Her maiden
>name was Corrigan, and they lived a few houses down the street.
>I had a sick feeling or premonition 
>the day before the launch, specifically because
>it had been so cold in Florida.  The space shuttle has set
>NASA back  twenty years.  
>	I hate to say it, but back when the 
>Nazi's ran NASA, at least the  space shuttles ran on time. I don't
>miss the German autocrats one bit.  We do need leaders with 
>vision, and , if our burearocracies select out for these, then ,
>this is just a process of old age in a society
>Marc Andelman

I am sorry about your neighbor! As well as the other heroic Americans
who were sacrificed on the altar of NASA greed & anxiety to keep the
funding going!

Also note that in the extensive coverage of the disaster's 10th
anniversary, Wm. Rogers, chairman of the panel, was quoted as "woe,
woe", whereas it was he & the other do-nothing members of the panel who
sat around a table and yacked, while Richard Feynman got up at dawn,
went to a hardware store, got the necessities, and gave that ice-water
demo on TV that locked up the case! Whattaguy!

Anyone interested in the full story as told by Feynman should read his
entertaining "Surely You're Joking, Mr.Feynman", the first of several
collections of his essays and writing about his life & career.

We shall not see his like again!  His leaps of intuition used to drive
his colleagues nuts. They would be painfully going through the steps of
some esoteric computation, and he would have already intuited (is that
a word?) the answer.

BTW, an interesting sidelight: Both he and his father were secular &
agnostic.  At his father's burial, he was asked to say Kaddish and
refused.  I started to wonder how I would have handled this: (a) stay
true to one's agnostic "principles", or (b) make the gesture as an act
of community solidarity.  I have concluded that I would do (b). 

Polar 



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