One of the principal purposes of this article is to consider Dick Feynman in his role as teacher. Let me not keep you in suspense about my conclusion. I think Dick was a truly great teacher, perhaps the greatest of his era and ours. That's not to say he was always completely successful, as he himself emphasized in his preface to The Feynman Lectures on Physics. I would contend that these lectures often failed at the level of their superficial intent: If his purpose in giving them was to prepare classes of adolescent boys to solve examination problems in physics, he may not have succeeded particularly well; if his purpose in creating those three red volumes was to provide effective introductory college textbooks, he may not have succeeded, either. If, however, his purpose was to illustrate, by example, how to think and reason about physics, then, by all indications, he was brilliantly successful. Perhaps this is why the books are genuine and lasting classics of the scientific literature and why his lectures left an enduring trace on those fortunate enough to have heard or read them.
His achievement as a teacher—and as an inspiration and model for other teachers—was based on nothing less than seeing all of physics with fresh new eyes.