If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?”

In 1961 — after working on the Manhattan Project and attending the Atoms for Peace conference, after spending a sabbatical in Brazil, and after an ex-girlfriend absconded with his Albert Einstein medal — Richard Feynman took over the introductory physics course at Caltech.

He began his first lecture with the question above.

His own answer was this: "All things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another."

This site collects the answers of other people, curated from a dataset with many more. Browse them below, or submit your response to the dataset.

Inspired by a Radiolab episode. To support Radiolab, donate here.

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    This project was inspired by a Radiolab episode. To support Radiolab, donate here.

    The responses shown here are curated from 726 responses gathered through this website and online surveys. You can submit your own here. If you're interested in using the full dataset for your own project, say hello.

    Made by Teo Soares.