“Nature Cannot be Fooled”


In his famous minority report on the Challenger shuttle disaster, written near the end of his life, Richard Feynman does not mince words.  He argues that the actual risk of shuttle mission failure was on the order of one in a hundred.  Then he says:


(p. 168)  Official management, . . ., claims to believe the probability of failure is a thousand times less.  One reason (p. 169) for this may be an attempt to assure the government of NASA perfection and success in order to ensure the supply of funds.

. . .

(p. 169)  For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.



Feynman, Richard P.  The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman. New York:  Perseus Books, 1999.

(Note:  ellipses added.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *