VE Day is soon approaching, marking a momentous 75 years since World War 2 officially ended in Europe. On Tuesday 8 May, 1945, Nazi Germany officially surrendered to the Allies days after Adolf Hitler’s suicide.
News spread and celebrations across Europe and North America erupted.
The war was not technically over, however, and conflict would rage for three more months in the Far East and the Pacific.
While British soldiers were enlisted to India, Burma, and other Far East nations, US troops were sent out to the Pacific and its islands after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.
With the Nazis defeated, the allied global powers wanted a quick and succinct end to the conflict.
The Manhattan Project was drawn-up, in which world leading scientists were brought together to create what would become known as the atomic bomb.
Among those involved was the physicist Richard Feynman, who is said to have significantly sped up the process of the bomb’s creation.
On August 6, 1945, the first ever atomic bomb was dropped, dubbed “Little Boy”, on Hiroshima – days later on August 9, the second bomb, “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki.
An estimated 146,000 and 100,000 people died respectively.
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Feynman fell into a great depression following the bomb’s dropping.
In the autumn of 1945, he was invited to become a professor in the physics department of Cornell University.
Still shocked by his contributions to the atomic bomb, Feynman decided to have fun with physics and science.
By the Sixties, with his new outlook, Feynman’s interests outside science flourished.
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He had become an accomplished bongo player and developed a love of painting and drawing.
Feature and profile drawings became his speciality, often venturing to strip clubs in order to capture the essence of dancers at work.
During the BBC’s 2013 documentary, “The Fantastic Mr Feynman”, Feynman’s close friend and artist Jirayr Zorthian noted how he would chase “go-go girls”.
Here, the documentary’s narrator explained how the scientist wedded his art and science worlds.
She said: “So enthusiastic an art student was Feynman, that he took to spending time in Giannoni’s, a strip bar in Pasadena.
“Here, he divided his attention between sketching the girls and solving physics equations.”
His love of the arts, however, led many of his colleagues to despair.
They were angered at his perceived lack of commitment to physics and the furthering of knowledge within the scientific community.
On this, Mr Zorthian said: “Other physicists couldn’t understand it.
They’d say: “You know, Feynman is supposed to be a physicist.
“‘And he is a brilliant, brilliant physicist, and we need his input very often in Caltech.
“’We need him to talk to us about physics, but what does he do?
“‘He goes off and spends all his time with go-go girls, bongo drummers and artists.
“‘He wastes so much time – I don’t see what they give him.’
“But I think that Feynman got a lot out of these people and it enriched his life.”
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