Dressing Up Science: Richard Feynman And The Costume Parties Of Al Hibbs
“One year, the challenge was to “come dressed as a character from myth or legend.“ Feynman cloaked himself in a flowing, white robe and donned a long gray beard. Someone asked him if he was supposed to be Moses. “No,” Feynman responded, “I’m God.” Hibbs quipped that everyone knew that all along.
Another year, the theme was “regions of the Earth.” Gweneth put together a wonderful outfit for her husband that resembled the traditional garb of a Ladakhi monk from the Himalayas. Local artist Sylvia Posner was so impressed that she painted a portrait of him in that costume, embellishing it with him holding a Feynman diagram in his hand that looked somewhat like lightning bolts.”
Scientists have long had a reputation for being uptight, serious, and even killjoy personalities. But 50+ years ago, Richard Feynman was forcing everyone who felt that way to challenge their assumptions. With his brash attitude and fun-seeking personality, Feynman seemingly was most at home when he was at his most outrageous. With Halloween on its way, what better way to celebrate than to take a look back at Feynman’s costumed antics, often taking place at the April Fools costume parties of his friend and former student, Al Hibbs? From irreverently dressing as a Ladakhi monk, Queen Elizabeth II, or even God himself, Feynman was always game for pushing the envelope and having a good time.