1963 – USA
Quantum electrodynamics was the successor to quantum mechanics. One of the problems with the quantum theory of electromagnetic fields was that for the theory to work electrons needed to have an infinite energy of interaction and an infinite number of degrees of freedom. Feynman’s way of calculating quantum electrodynamics set quantum theory on a firm footing.
After being invited to join the commission investigating the January 28, 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster by NASA, Feynman demonstrated his determination to remain an independent observer by publishing his own appendix to the report. Feynman added to the commission’s criticism of its system of management by finding that NASA’s own method of using statistics that showed the shuttle was safe was for two reasons. “ …an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds. The other may be that they sincerely believed it to be true, demonstrating an almost incredible lack of communication between themselves and their working engineers…. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled ”.