Richard Feynman was one of the 20th century’s most influential physicists and one of its most colourful personalities. Recruited to the Manhattan project in his early 20s, he helped calculate the magnitude of the expected blast of the first atomic bomb. In his spare time, he cracked the safes of senior army staff at the project’s site in New Mexico, leaving notes behind to record his successes. The habit went down badly with the top brass. After only two years of marriage, his wife Arline died of tuberculosis in 1945. Feynman was stricken and turned, as some kind of compensation, to the predatory pursuit of women – dating undergraduates, visiting prostitutes, and sleeping with the young wives of several colleagues while an academic at Cornell University. At the age of 31, having never ventured outside the United States, he visited Rio de Janeiro, where he lectured at the Centro Brasiliero de Pesquisas Friscas during the day. In the evening, he played drums for a samba band or picked up women – he particularly liked air stewardesses – in the bar of the Miramar Palace hotel. He was eventually snared by Mary Louise Bell – “a platinum blonde with a penchant… Read full this story
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