According to Feynman, there was a quota for Jews at American Universities and when he was accepted on a graduate programme - I think at Princeton - they were told "he's Jewish but he doesn't act like one", with the impression that this was said approvingly. I think this was part of anecdote in one of his popular books. (When I read that as a teenager, I sat up and took notice, because it made me think about the so-called 'freedoms' of the United States in the modern era. After all, I knew about the slavery and how it had been gotten rid of by courageous men and women. But this showed me that there was still a dark underbelly where one might least expect it).

I'm under the impression that Feynman was more or less agnostic to athiest. So what prompted his, I take, late soul searching in his lecture On the Meaning of it All, where he explains that he saw the world in a new way and that Christianity was a great faith? This lecture never seems to be mentioned by his fan club - which I take to be atheist to a man and woman, generally speaking. If Feynman was alive, and given his views, I expect him to walk right pass them.

Q. When was this quota imposed - presumably it was an informal one. And when was this lifted?

Q. What led to his religious awakening? Is this clarified in any of his later writings or conversations with friends?

I've written the above from memory, so some of the details may be a bit skewy, but the main thrust of it is correct.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you link to that lecture? $\endgroup$
    – gktscrk
    Nov 28, 2020 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ Feynman is dead, and his world-view is an objectively answerable thing, making this question on-topic. Although the question might look a little bit tendentious one (probably he was agnosticist in his entire life, possibly sympathizing with Christianity on a moral level). To use "religious awakening" and similars is only reasonable in the question if there is some link or other reference suggesting that. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Nov 28, 2020 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ The first question is easily answered by googling. Re the second question, I haven't seen any evidence that Feynman had a "religious awakening." $\endgroup$
    – user466
    Nov 28, 2020 at 22:40


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