Friday, June 15, 2012

FBI Files On Feynman Released

The FBI Files on Richard Feynman has been released, not that it makes any difference.

The FBI began keeping an eye on Feynman after other members of the Manhattan Project, which built the first atomic bomb, turned out to be Soviet spies, including Klaus Fuchs, the project's primary physicist. The documents, 361 pages, record statement after statement from the physicist's friends and colleagues, mostly praising Feynman for his brilliance, trustworthiness and loyalty to the country.

The documents available at MuckRock detail, for example, how in 1958 Feynman, then at Caltech, received an invitation from the Soviet Union to attend a physics conference in Moscow. After discovering this invitation by sifting through the Soviet ambassador's trash, the FBI began looking into his plans.
And for anyone who thinks he was a nice guy and fun to be around with, this might change your mind:

In a note to the director of the FBI, dated July 29, 1958, Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Los Angeles notes details from an L.A. Times article from two years prior, regarding his relations with his wife: "The appointee's wife was granted a divorce from him because of appointee's constantly working calculus problems in his head as soon as awake, while driving car, sitting in living room and so forth, and that his one hobby was playing his African drums. His ex-wife reportedly testified that on several occasions when she unwittingly disturbed either his calculus or his drums he flew into a violent rage, during which time he choked her, threw pieces of bric-a-brac about and smashed the furniture."
I suppose this makes for a good bedtime stories. It is also one aspect of his life that is missing in the many biographies written about him.



Omni said...

thanks for sharing, interesting

ZapperZ said...

I didn't mean the divorce. I meant his treatment of his wife as described in this report.