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Feynman Lectures Released Free Online 70

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-and-learn dept.
Anna Merikin writes In 1964, Richard Feynman delivered a series of seven hour-long lectures at Cornell University which were recorded by the BBC, and in 2009 (with a little help from Bill Gates), were released to the public. The three-volume set may be the most popular collection of physics books ever written, and now the complete online edition has been made available in HTML 5 through a collaboration between Caltech (where Feyman first delivered these talks, in the early 1960s) and The Feynman Lectures Website. The online edition is "high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman's legendary lectures," and, thanks to the implementation of scalable vector graphics, "has been designed for ease of reading on devices of any size or shape; text, figures and equations can all be zoomed without degradation." Volume I deals mainly with mechanics, radiation and heat; Volume II with electromagnetism and matter; and Volume III with quantum mechanics. Last year we told you when Volume I was made available. It's great to see the rest added.
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Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

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  • Ahhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdsolar (1045926) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @11:50AM (#47795471) Homepage Journal
    Feynman....
  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @12:05PM (#47795527) Homepage Journal
    I thought about how much paperwork I usually had to get involved with when I deal with the government, so I laughed and said, "I'll be glad to give the talk. There's only one condition on the whole thing"--I pulled a number out of a hat and continued--"that I don't have to sign my name more than thirteen times, and that includes the check!" http://www.chem.fsu.edu/chemla... [fsu.edu]
  • Silverlight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @12:22PM (#47795567)
    When these were first released they were silverlight only. I wanted to watch them but there was a zero percent chance I would use silverlight. It is wonderful that these are now available for all the sensible people who don't drink the microsoft koolaid.
  • misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by tloh (451585) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @12:27PM (#47795583)

    The videos of Feynman speaking at Cornell that Gates acquired and released are NOT the more popularly known "Feynman Lectures on Physics". It was part of the Messanger Lectures series where Feynman was a guest at his alma mater. Entitled "The Character of Physical Law", they are lesser known, but more accessible to someone who isn't intent upon a complete college lecture course.

  • From the preface (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @12:47PM (#47795661)

    I was reading about the project to put these lectures online. It's amazing how well these lectures have held up over time.

    This excerpt from History of Errata [caltech.edu] is quite enjoyable:

    It is remarkable that among the 1165 errata corrected under my auspices, only several do I regard as true errors in physics. An example is Volume II, page 5-9, which now says “no static distribution of charges inside a closed grounded conductor can produce any [electric] fields outside” (the word grounded was omitted in previous editions). This error was pointed out to Feynman by a number of readers, including Beulah Elizabeth Cox, a student at The College of William and Mary, who had relied on Feynman's erroneous passage in an exam. To Ms. Cox, Feynman wrote in 1975,3 “Your instructor was right not to give you any points, for your answer was wrong, as he demonstrated using Gauss's law. You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities. You also read the book correctly and understood it. I made a mistake, so the book is wrong. I probably was thinking of a grounded conducting sphere, or else of the fact that moving the charges around in different places inside does not affect things on the outside. I am not sure how I did it, but I goofed. And you goofed, too, for believing me.”

  • total gold. and for free. most excellent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2014 @01:32PM (#47795847)

    The Cornell lectures, which were made available by Bill Gates using Silverlight, are the basis for Feynman's book "The Character of Physical Law".

    These are *not* the Feynman Lectures in Physics, which were based on the freshman Physics class Feynman taught at Cal Tech in 1962-64.

    It is the Cal Tech lectures that are available free on-line. There is also an iPad app that has multimedia for some of the lectures -- the 6 Easy Pieces part.

  • We'll learn what all this modern quantum stuff is all about.

  • by geo3rge (937616) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @01:53PM (#47795899)

    The Cornell lectures, which were made available by Bill Gates using Silverlight, are the basis for Feynman's book "The Character of Physical Law". They are referred to as the Messenger Lectures, and are intended for a general audience -- basically anyone at college level (or college level in 1964). I think that they should be required reading by everyone.

    These lectures are currently available in various formats on YouTube, as wells the site sponsored by Bill Gates.

    These are *not* the Feynman Lectures in Physics, which were based on the freshman Physics class Feynman taught at Cal Tech in 1962-64. This is the famous three volume work, which has usually been published in red covers.

    It is the Cal Tech lectures that are available free on-line. There is also an iPad app that has multimedia for some of the lectures -- the 6 Easy Pieces part.

    The Feynman Lectures in Physics was the result of CalTech's reform of the teaching of Physics. The books are taken from audio tapes (and photos) of Feynman teaching the two year course from 1962-1964. Other than the parts extracted as the "Six Easy Pieces", they are intended for physics majors (and engineers, mathematicians, etc.). Although some parts are dated, the main reason for reading these books after 50+ years is the quality of Feynman's explanations. They are models of clarity.

  • The front-page warning says "However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose. "

    I wonder how they expect people to read it in their browsers without the text of the document being transferred down to the computer on which the browser is running...?

    • by c0d3g33k (102699)

      The front-page warning says "However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose. "

      I wonder how they expect people to read it in their browsers without the text of the document being transferred down to the computer on which the browser is running...?

      Not to mention the implied requirement that an always online connection is required to read these 'free' editions, rather than being able to read from a local copy offline.

      Yes, yes, we all know that in the modern day everyone has an internet connection to the cloud all the time, so this is an old-fashioned sentiment. Or wait - maybe it isn't so old-fashioned. It's still quite common that in situations where there is enough idle time to read something like this (on a plane, train, boat or automobile; in a

      • Perhaps your online time would be better spent by actually reading the stuff than bitching about it.

        • by c0d3g33k (102699)

          Perhaps your online time would be better spent by actually reading the stuff than bitching about it.

          Personally I feel that was uncalled for, but your nick suggests that perhaps you can't help it. Please learn to distinguish between 'bitching' and 'discussing critically'. The latter is intended to point out how things might be made better, while the former is more about complaining for the sake of complaining. They are very different things. It seems to me that these days anything outside of Pollyanna-ish optimism and praise is being lumped into the "bitching" or "complaining" or "being negative" categ

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        I should point out that my final comment about updating some of the figures only applies to some of them - the majority of the updated SVG versions are actually quite nice as they are, which I noticed as I looked through volumes 2 and 3.

        I was thinking in particular of the monochrome photographic images such as Fig 52-1 from http://www.feynmanlectures.cal... [caltech.edu], which could probably be updated with a photo of the same models using a modern camera, or perhaps a nice 3-D rendering of the same molecules. Another

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    For those of us that dont stay connected just to read..

  • The quantum lectures in Volume III are still some of the best available. Protip: read them at the same time as Sakurai. You will be a Jedi master of quantum when you are complete.
  • Fantastic that they made these available for free and in such an accessible format.

    Had a quick look through and one of the major differences between the HTML5 version and the book is the layout, everything is completely linearly presented... i suppose that makes it easier to support mobile devices and various sized screens etc, but not quite as nice as the book.

    Depending on the re-use rights perhaps it could be given some love with @media queries and some more caring typography.

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