Compare and contrast the various ways that the experimental and theoretical parts of science interact (relating to Feynman) in Genius.

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For Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (famous for his work in quantum mechanics), the theoretical and the experimental are inextricably linked. Each gains validation by the other, and so they are mutually dependent. Richard Feynman was a strong proponent of the scientific method, and he gave a popular lecture in...

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For Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (famous for his work in quantum mechanics), the theoretical and the experimental are inextricably linked. Each gains validation by the other, and so they are mutually dependent. Richard Feynman was a strong proponent of the scientific method, and he gave a popular lecture in 1964 in which he famously declared that "If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science."

An alumnus of MIT, Feynman has authored several books, such as Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (1985), a collection of autobiographical anecdotes. He also published The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999), a collection of interviews and lectures.

Feynman contends that a theory starts with a simple guess. For Feynman, the theoretical is given relevance only by experimentation. Newton's laws about planetary motion are his examples of theories that began with a guess and continued for a long time by virtue of not having been proved wrong for a long time. Feynman also explains that vague theories cannot be proved wrong; a theory needs to be sufficiently detailed in order to be able to be tested. Thus, the possibility of experimentation, according to Feynman, is a qualifying feature of sound theory.

Feynman explains the scientific theory as first guessing (or proposing) a theory, then computing the consequences of that guess, and then comparing those consequences to experience and observation. In this way, experiment is the litmus test for a theory. Feynman also proposes that the most likely theory is usually right and should be tested first; however, if this theory is proven wrong by means of experimentation or observation, it must be discarded.

The scientific method is such a touchstone for Feynman that he coined the phrase "cargo cult science" in a commencement address at Caltech in 1974. Feynman uses this term to refer to phenomena that constitute pseudoscience (not real science), as they are untestable by means of the scientific method. Such phenomena include mind-reading, astrology, and UFOs.

Feynman avers that theories cannot be proved right by experimentation, only proved wrong. In brief, the scientific method includes both theory and experiment, and only the applicability of this method renders a field a properly scientific one.

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