Our name, Tuva Interactive, is inspired by Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman. So what does Tuva, a Russian republic in central Asia have to do with a physicist? Well, quite a lot actually.
Richard Feynman was one of the 20th Century’s most brilliant minds. But he was also an artist, musician, bongo player, safecracker, dancer and bestselling author. His 1985 autobiography, “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! – Adventures of a Curious Character” was on the New York Times best seller list for 14 weeks. Feynman’s way of looking at the world, and his Tuvan quest, is the inspiration behind our name.
In 1977 around the dinner table, Feynman and his friend Ralph Leighton were doing some verbal sparring over their geography knowledge. Feynman remembered an obscure country from which he had seen on a map as a child and asked, “What ever happened to Tannu Tuva?” Ralph challenged that Feynman had made it up, and they looked it up and sure enough, Tuva existed. To top it off, the capital city, Kyzl, had no vowels in its name. Any place this exotic and strange must be fascinating. So the quest was on – they must go to Tuva!
Unfortunately, Tuva was part of the Soviet Union at the time, and going to Tuva was just not allowed. For the next 10 years, Feynman and Leighton schemed on how to get to Tuva with no success. They applied for visas but were denied. They wrote letters to government officials with no response. And when Feynman was invited to symposium in Russia, he made traveling to Tuva a condition for participating in the event, which almost worked, but in the end that was met with failure too.
In 1988, Feynman and Leighton were finally successful in getting permission for their journey. Sadly, Richard died just days before the visas arrived.
Even though Richard Feynman never made it to Tuva, he is revered as a national hero, and has even been honored on their postage stamps. Ondar, the renowned Tuvan throat singer, memorialized Richard Feynman by including his voice in one of his recordings.
At Tuva Interactive, we strive to have a bit of Richard Feynman in our approach and philosophy. We don’t like to take the beaten path. We bring to each client and each project both creativity and technology. That is our quest.