Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Starting into a new MOOC I was pleased to encounter an old friend, who I never met, now dead, Richard Feynman.

I’ve signed up for a MOOC on creativity or maybe connectionism (actually Creativity and Multicultural Communication) and one of the readings for this week was a memoir by Daniel Hill on Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine.
Richard Feynman is one of my greats.
 In this memoir we see him in what has to be his greatest role, as a communicator.  Feynman diagrams for physicists are a way of making some very complicated mathematics seem simple. This was Richards great gift: to communicate across cultural divides and explore strange areas of science, often showing the natives things they were unaware of.  In exploring other territories he sometimes found the obvious, but he also often saw things that local practitioners were to close to see, such as the reduction of risk assessments as they went up the NASA management chain in the challenger crash, where he was a key player in discovering the cause of the disaster.

I think this is probably why this reading was included, as an example of a practitioner of multicultural communication.

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