Oh, sure…Sean Carroll has Richard Feynman’s desk. But I have PZ Myers’ office and desk (I moved in right after the building was finished, so there’s no history to speak of in here.)

I think the burden of living up to my furniture’s standards is a lot lower for me.


  1. kathy a says

    what, they made feynman get a new desk from ikea? well, it evidently was feynman’s, and so it must have good karma anyway. [by karma, i mean “inspirational value.”]

  2. Craig says

    I had Rod Serling’s desk.
    Lovging in Interlaken, NY. Got it from his family. His daughter Anne used to be out jogging sometimes and would wave – we we neighbors. (She looked good.)

    Rod Serling’s desk. In my apartment. Who knows what he wrote on that thing!!!

    Left it behind in the apartment when we moved.

  3. says

    I thought you were talking about that other Sean Carroll. What a story that would be, the desk of a physics icon ending up in the office of a butterfly evo-devo maestro!

    Which makes me wonder – where did Darwin’s desk go?

  4. says

    i thought, as scientists, that our memories and histories, if preserved at all, were stored in books. sure, today, they may be online, but it’s the same thing.

    i find this attachment to possessions of former scientific greats no less superstitious than religious attachment to old vestments, relics, or other iconography.

    given Feynman’s recorded opinions regarding awards and “epaulets”, i believe he’d firmly disapprove of such cult worship, let alone such cult science.

  5. says

    Well, actually, if you read Sean’s post, it sounds like they’re shuffling Feynman’s desk around like it was…it was…a piece of furniture.

  6. says

    Feynman’s body is encased in amber in the middle of a reflecting pool on Caltech’s campus. Each year, the incoming sophomore who received the lowest grade in freshman physics is offered as a human sacrifice.

  7. says

    Feynman’s body is encased in amber in the middle of a reflecting pool on Caltech’s campus.

    remarkable! and where is the scientific paper which describes this artificial acceleration of the lithification of succinite?

  8. says

    One of the things that my father taught me besides physics (LAUGHS), whether it’s correct or not, was a disrespect for respectable . . . for certain kinds of things. For example, when I was a little boy, and a rotogravure-that’s printed pictures in newspapers-first came out in the New York Times, he used to sit me again on his knee and he’d open a picture, and there was a picture of the Pope and everybody bowing in front of him. And he’d say, “Now look at these humans. Here is one human standing here, and all these others are bowing. Now what is the difference? This one is the Pope”-he hated the Pope anyway-and he’d say, “the difference is epau1ettes”-of course not in the case of the Pope, but if he was a general-it was always the uniform, the position, “but this man has the same human problems, he eats dinner like anybody else, he goes to the bathroom, he has the same kind of problems as everybody, he’s a human being. Why are they all bowing to him? Only because of his name and his position, because of his uniform, not because of something special he did, or his honor, or something like that.” He, by the way, was in the uniform business, so he knew what the difference was between the man with the uniform off and the uniform on; it’s the same man for him … I don’t know anything about the Nobel Prize, I don’t understand what it’s all about or what’s worth what, but if the people in the Swedish Academy decide that x, y, or z wins the Nobel Prize then so be it. I won’t have anything to do with the Nobel Prize…it’s a pain in the….I don’t like honors. I appreciate it, and I know there’s a lot of physicists who use my work, I don’t need anything else, I don’t think there’s any sense to anything else. I don’t think that it makes any point that someone in the Swedish Academy decides that this work is noble enough to receive a prize – I’ve already got the prize. The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it (my work) – those are the real things, the honors are unreal to me. I don’t believe in honors, it bothers me, honors bother, honors is epaulettes, honors is uniforms. My papa bought me up this way. I can’t stand it, it hurts me.

    When I was in high school, one of the first honors I got
    was to be a member of the Arista, which is a group of kids
    who got good grades-eh?-and everybody wanted to be a
    member of the Arista, and when I got into the Arista I discovered that what they did in their meetings was to sit
    around to discuss who else was worthy to join this wonderful
    group that we are-okay? So we sat around trying to decide
    who it was who would get to be allowed into this Arista. This kind of thing bothers me psychologically for one or another reason I don’t understand myself-honors and
    from that day to this [it] always bothered me. When I
    became a member of the National Academy of Sciences, I
    had ultimately to resign because that was another organization most of whose time was spent in choosing who was illustrious enough to join, to be allowed to join us in our organization, including such questions as [should] we
    physicists stick together because they’ve a very good chemist that they’re trying to get in and we haven’t got enough room for so-and-so. What’s the matter with chemists? The whole thing was rotten because its purpose was mostly to
    decide who could have this honor-okay? I don’t like honors.

  9. says

    given Feynman’s recorded opinions regarding awards and “epaulets”, i believe he’d firmly disapprove of such cult worship, let alone such cult science.

    Hey, why don’t you just change your name to CAPTAIN BRINGDOWN already? Jeez.

  10. says

    On Thursday (Natural History Museum, London) I rummaged through Joseph Banks’ cabinet which went round the world with Cook on HMS Endeavour. The waves that came off it confirmed my feeling that fine naturalist though he was, he was also a pillock.

  11. says

    I think the burden of living up to my furniture’s standards is a lot lower for me.

    A future Lloyd Bentsen moment:

    BIOLOGIST’S BACKSIDE: ID isn’t so bad; after all, even atheism is a profession of faith. Why, I heard that once PZ Meyers himself defended the right of vegetables to proclaim the divinity of God…

    CHAIR: Sir, I knew PZ Meyers’s backside, I worked with PZ Meyers’s backside, I supported PZ Meyers’s backside … you, Sir, are no PZ Meyers’s backside.

    DESK: What an ass…

  12. Ford Denison says

    According to Janet Browne’s biography of Darwin, his rooms at Cambridge had previously been occupied by Paley, who he admired at the time.