Last night in a BD celebration (1001011 in binary, 4B in hexadecimal, "." in EBCDIC, forget what it is in decimal, or "denumerably infinite" to mathematicians) at my wine tasting, I was gifted a framed/wall-hangable quote on wine from Richard Fenyman:
Feynman:Universe in a Glass of Wine
Glass Of Wine Cartoon

In 1961, Nobel prize winner Feynman was asked by CalTech to teach an undergraduate course in introductory physics. His book, Six Easy Pieces, contains this short story on wine. His lectures revolutionized the teaching of physics in colleges.

My interest in wine has a direct connection to Feynman. One of his contemporaries who worked a bit together was PaulZweifel, a mathematician who applied N.I Muskhelishvilli's singular eigenfunction expansion techniques to neutron transport.....so-called Caseology, when he was at Univ of Michigan. Paul was passionately interested in wine. He transmitted that wine interest to one of his students, Ken Shultis. Ken was my major professor at KansasState. He and Sue had me over for dinner one night...this fuzzy-cheeked grad student all of 26 yrs of age. Up until then, my wine interest (such as it was...coming from a family of Methodist tee-totallers) was Taylor Lake Country Red. With grilled steak, Ken served a '66 Lynch-Bages. "Hmmmm...this is wine? This stuff is pretty good". And then with Sue's GrandMarnierSouffle, he pulled out a hlf-btl of '65 d'Yquem (miserable/rain-besotted year). "Wow...this stuff is incredible. I don't like sweet wine". That was my epiphany wine...I was hooked. Berbiglia's in KC carried that wine at $11.99/hlf btl at the time.

During the War, Feynman was an Army PFC assigned to the ManhattanProject, because of his mathematical/physics skills, in LosAlamos. He was quite the character w/ lots of stories about his time here. After the war, he went on to earn a Nobel Prize in Physics for his Feynman Diagram methodology for explaining sub-atomic particle behavior and his quantuum mechanics work.

During his days at LosAlamos, he developed the Pre-Detonation (or Pre-Initiation) Equation to predict the probability of a super-critical assembly having an uncontrolled chain reaction before it was fully assembled, from a stray cosmic neutron or spontaneous fission. It is a Boltzmann transport equation with a bunch of non-linear fission terms...one of the ugliest equations I ever worked with. Alas, because of the lack of appropriate nuclear data and the lack of computers, he was a failure at solving that equation.

He came to LosAlamos in the early '90's and delivered a Lab colloquium on Quantuum Computing (something that is finally starting to come to fruition). After this very illuminating colloquium, they had a reception for him that was sparsely attended. On a whim, I decided to go. Feynman had a very engaging personality and asked me what I was working on. I explained.."why Dr.Feynman...it's your Pre-Detonation Equation. I've been able to accelerate the iterations so that we can actually solve it on the computer in a reasonable amount of compute time". That very much piqued his interest and he started asking me all sorts of questions....some of which strayed into S/RD classified information & had to explain to him we couldn't talk about this stuff here in public. Of the 6 Nobel prize-winners I've met, Feynman was, by far, the best (Edward Teller was a self-absorbed dunce). His many books are very highly-recommended reading.

So now you know the rest of this SWR story. More detail than you every wanted to know.
Tom (#75 if you havent computed it yet)


Edited by TomHill (12-28-2017 12:11:27)