Richard Feynman could see the universe in a glass of wine


Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman

Nobel-prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman developed a series of groundbreaking lectures on physics which he delivered to undergraduates at Caltech in the early 1960s. These lectures are still admired in the 21st century, and were collected in “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” available on Amazon.

Etched glass at Govinda's Restauran...
Etched glass at Govinda's Restaurant, Tucson

In a memorable tour-de-force, Feynman waxed poetic when linking a wine glass and its contents to the scientific mysteries of the universe:

A poet once said, “The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what sense he meant that for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe.

There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth’s rocks, and in its composition, we see the secrets of the universe’s age, and the evolution of stars.

What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease.

How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts—physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on—remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!

From the lecture called “The Relation of Physics to Other Sciences,” in which Richard Feynman highlights the connectedness of everything to everything else.

This extract is included in “The Feynman Lectures on Physics” – see Amazon link below:


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If you are interested in science – do not miss this classic!

The immortal Richard Feynman presents his legendary introduction to physics in these volumes. Every scientist should read this masterpiece from the subject’s greatest teacher. Highly recommended!


Tips for the washing and care of stemware

  • Remove rings & jewelry before washing crystal
  • Wash stemware in warm soapy water – never in the dishwasher
  • Place a washcloth in the bottom of the sink
  • Hold crystal by the bowl – never the stem
  • Before using, make sure the glass is free from detergent
  • Never pour very hot liquid into crystal
  • Check for water spots before storing your crystal
  • Remove water spots with a mixture of vinegar & water
  • Do not store crystal stemware resting on its rim
  • Never store one crystal glass inside another one

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John

I was an exploration geologist and University Professor working in Botswana, Zambia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Portugal, and other countries before opening Artistry in Glass in 1986. In my more than 35 years of experience, I have brought my technical abilities as a scientist to the trade of glasswork. During this time I have become an industry expert in glass and glass-related skills. Watch out for special insider tips developed from my detailed knowledge of the glass business.

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