Why do I write you this letter?

Kate Zernike reviews Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman, edited by Michelle Feynman, in the New York Times Book Review:

FeynmanIn 1975, a woman from Seattle wrote the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman to declare that she had fallen in love after seeing him on ”Nova.” ”Are there lots of physicists with fans?” she wrote. ”You have one!”

Feynman wrote back flattered — ”I need no longer be jealous of movie stars” — and signed off, ”Your fan-nee (or whatever you call it — the whole business is new to me).”

It wasn’t, of course.

There were the high school students from Springfield, Mo., who sent him a hand-lettered birthday card to thank him for writing their textbook. The German man who wrote to share the poem he had created from a Feynman lecture. A man from Massachusetts wrote of a move afoot to draft Feynman for governor. A dentist wrote to ask his views on nuclear energy; an office equipment salesman, to propose an idea for a particle accelerator. A California correspondent inquired whether Feynman believed it possible to record dreams on tape, the way you do television programs.

More here.