Feynman was a fine man – how to pronounce Feynman

Most scientists are very familiar with the name and work of Richard Feynman. Among his many achievements and contributions, let me mention Feynman diagrams, the Feynman path integral (an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics), and his work on quantum electrodynamics for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. Feynman is not only famous for his scientific work, but also for his quirky character.

Despite his fame, you can quite often hear his name being mispronounced. Instead of [faɪnmən] (corresponding to the words ‘fine’ and ‘men’), see here, here and here for evidence, his name is often pronounced as [feɪnmən], most likely because ‘ey’ is in English quite often pronounced as [eɪ] (for example, in words such as ‘hey’ or ‘obey’); listen to the incorrect pronunciation here. The pronunciation [faɪnmən] can also be found in Longman’s Pronunciation Dictionary.

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