William Hurt as Richard Feynman
Academy Award-winner William Hurt trained at Tufts University and The Juilliard School of Music and Drama. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and received an Emmy nomination for Lead Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series for HBO's "Too Big to Fail." Hurt also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his recurring role on FX's award-winning series, "Damages."
In 1980, Hurt appeared in his first film, "Altered States." He received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for "Broadcast News" and "Children of a Lesser God." For "Kiss of the Spider Woman" he was honored with an Academy Award as well as Best Actor Awards from the British Academy and the Cannes Festival.
In 2005, Hurt appeared in "A History of Violence" directed by David Cronenberg. Hurt received an Oscar nomination and Best Supporting Actor accolades for the role from the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Among his other film credits are "The King," "Beautiful Ohio," "Noise," "The Village," "Blue Butterfly," "Tuck Everlasting," "Changing Lanes," Rare Birds," "Sunshine," "Body Heat," "The Big Chill," "Eyewitness," "Gorky Park," "Alice," "I Love You to Death," "The Accidental Tourist," "The Doctor," "The Plague," "The Simian Line," "Trial by Jury," "Second Best," "Smoke," "Confidences a un Inconnu," "Jane Eyre," "Michael," "Dark City," "Neverwas," "The Big Brass Ring" and "One True Thing."
On the small screen, Hurt appeared in a guest role on the hit FX series "Damages," for which he was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
His other television credits include the TNT special event series "Nightmares and Dreamscapes," based on the stories of Stephen King, the Hallmark Channel's miniseries "Frankenstein" opposite Donald Sutherland, CBS's "The Flamingo Rising," the title role in the CBS mini-series "Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story," The Sci-Fi Channel's "Dune" and "Varian's War" for Showtime.
Richard Feynman was one of the best-known members of the Presidential Commission investigating the Challenger shuttle disaster and famously demonstrated the effects of cold weather on the shuttle's O-rings.
Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 in New York, NY. He grew up in Far Rockaway where his father helped inspire him with trips to museums, nature walks, the purchase of an Encyclopedia Britannica and more.
Feynman entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1935 to begin his undergraduate studies. By his sophomore year, Feynman was already enrolling in graduate-level courses in theoretical physics. From MIT, Feynman went to Princeton University to pursue his PhD, starting in 1939.
In 1943, Feynman joined the theoretical physics division, or T-division, of the Manhattan Project, a small, secret group of scientists who studied whether it was feasible to create a weapon using nuclear fission. Feynman's job was to figure out some way to calculate how neutrons would behave in various bomb configurations.
In the following decades, Feynman revolutionized nearly every branch of theoretical physics, from QED to nuclear and particle physics, solid-state theory and even gravitation. He won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.
In January 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred and President Ronald Reagan convened a blue-ribbon panel to investigate the disaster, which Feynman reluctantly agreed to join. Frustrated by what he considered the bureaucratic red tape and political niceties that he thought would stymie the commission, Feynman grabbed the spotlight during televised hearings in February 1986. He had been tipped off by an insider that the accident might have stemmed from the effects of cold weather on some O-rings (rubber seals inside the shuttle's solid-rocket boosters). Waiting for just the right moment when the television cameras were focusing on him, Feynman dipped a piece of O-ring in a glass of ice water and demonstrated how quickly it lost its elasticity.
His contribution to the Challenger investigation proved to be his last major work. Two years later he died from kidney failure on February 15, 1988, a complication arising from his long battle with cancer.