Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bill Gates Puts Feynman Physics Lectures Online

I found this tidbit of information, that Microsoft has put a series of Feynman lectures online. I don't know if these are video lectures, or if they are actually online version of the infamous Feynman lecture series books. I tend to think it is the former, because this source (although I haven't had the time to check it) said that

Feynman shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965, while the series of lectures were delivered at Cornell University in 1964.

The Feynman lecture series books were based on his lectures at CalTech.

It is interesting that one of the quotes attributed to Feynman (can someone verify this?) is:

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing - that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

This is a clear illustration of what happened, especially in quantum mechanics, where people learn about things superficially (i.e. "know the name") without understanding the in-depth physics. People bastardized things like "quantum entanglement" simply by reading pop-science articles without even realizing what it is. In addition, look, for example, at the people who kept saying that evolution is only a "theory", without understanding what the word means when it is used in the scientific context.

If anyone has tried this online software, I would welcome a review.



Phys Student said...

Interesting, thanks for the link.

Maybe you've seen these too, but in case you haven't, check out the link in this post (

They are video lectures by Feynman.

rallain said...

That Feynman bird quote was in one of his books - I think it was in "surely you must be joking Mr. Feynman"

Tom said...

As Rhett said, it sounds like something from "Surely You're Joking…" It (also) shows up in "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" and "No Ordinary Genius" (or at least Google books tells me so)

Suraj said...

If I remember it right, that quote of Feynman's comes from a series of interviews available on youtube:

Heumpje said...

I enjoyed watching these lectures :

5 hours of Feynman explaining QED to a general audience.

lumbricus said...

I just installed Silverlight...they are indeed video lectures. This is a wonderful addition and complement to the Feynman Lectures books and audio already available...

felly said...

Yes, Feynman did say that.