Sunday, May 5, 2019

Review of "Tuva or Bust!" By Ralph Leighton

Review of
Tuva or Bust! By Ralph Leighton
ISBN 0393029530

Three out of five stars

 I have read some of the books written by physicist Richard Feynman and he is an entertaining writer. A Nobel Laurette in physics, he was always willing to explore new things, from playing the bongo drums to doing artwork to attempting to raise his consciousness. He truly was a curious character, always willing to try new things.

 His most shining moment was when he served on the Rogers Commission investigating why the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. He single-handedly drove the commission to the truth by performing a single, public experiment with a glass of ice water and a gasket of the type that failed on the shuttle.

 This book is about a lengthy attempt by a group of scientists to visit the former country of Tannu Tuva. When he was young, Feynman collected stamps and he acquired some from Tannu Tuva. It was between Mongolia and the Soviet Union and disappeared after the Second World War, becoming another province of the USSR.

There is unfortunately not much of the impish Feynman in this book, it is a chronicle of navigating the bureaucracy of several countries as the group tries to find a way to visit Kyzl, the capital of Tannu Tuva. That makes this a dull book, it is generally impossible to make fighting with slow and intransigent government officials interesting.

 It is too bad that Richard Feynman succumbed to cancer before he was able to travel to Tannu Tuva. It would have been an adventure to read about. It is guaranteed that Feynman would have done something unusual and worthy of a classic adventure story.  

No comments:

Post a Comment