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The Feynman Lectures on Physics
September 14, 2013 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website are pleased to present this online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Now, anyone with internet access and a web browser can enjoy reading a high-quality up-to-date copy of Feynman's legendary lectures.
posted by Artw (27 comments total) 144 users marked this as a favorite

 
Volumes 2 and 3 forthcoming, maybe:

(This is a work in progress. Initially we are publishing Volume I; We hope to eventually publish Volumes II and III, and lectures will be posted as time and funds permit.)
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:19 PM on September 14, 2013


anyone have an idea how to port this to a kindle (easily)?
posted by edgeways at 3:36 PM on September 14, 2013


Love it, thanks.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:08 PM on September 14, 2013


Thank you, Artw.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:12 PM on September 14, 2013


This is awesome. I agree with edgeways though. I would love an ePub.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM on September 14, 2013


This is quite the "get"! Thanks!
posted by Renoroc at 4:36 PM on September 14, 2013


So brilliant. And yeah, I would really like to have this in a single electronic document.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2013


If your Kindle or other e-reader has an Internet connection, can you use the browser to read this? I'm on a desktop so I can't tell.

It looks really nice from here, tho.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:18 PM on September 14, 2013


This is wonderful.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 5:51 PM on September 14, 2013


So, I've read just the first few paragraphs of the Introduction to Chapter 1, AND OH MY GOD THIS THE GREATEST THING EVVEEEEERRRRRR¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so going to read the hell out of this.
posted by oddman at 5:52 PM on September 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


So cool!
posted by brundlefly at 5:58 PM on September 14, 2013


Really? It wasn't available online? I downloaded my copies back in 2004.
posted by clarknova at 6:57 PM on September 14, 2013


I've listened to a number of these, they're great!
posted by JHarris at 8:04 PM on September 14, 2013


Pirated PDFs were available, but the quality wasn't great and the files were huge.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:34 PM on September 14, 2013


This is so fantastic. I wish I had this a year ago when I actually took my first two physics classes.
posted by triceryclops at 10:04 PM on September 14, 2013


>> anyone have an idea how to port this to a kindle (easily)?

Instapaper can send articles to your Kindle. Alternatively, Amazon has a new Send to Kindle service that does a similar thing, although for me it seems to strip out the images.
posted by JohnFredra at 10:06 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


As time and FUNDS permit? Kickstarter. Kickstarter Kickstarter Kickstarter Kickstarter Kickstarter.
posted by BiggerJ at 1:43 AM on September 15, 2013


I'm three chapters in and I want to stress that "up-to-date" does not mean that it's been annotated with what we know in 2013 that we didn't know in 1963. The lectures are fifty years old and contains some inaccuracies, and I wish that there were new footnotes whenever Feynman says something like "and we're still working this part out" (which is a lot). This is particularly evident in chapter 3, where the section on geology omits plate tectonics (which existed as a theory but wasn't universally accepted yet), and the section on biology treats the actual mechanism of protein synthesis as a big mystery. I don't know enough about physics to tell what's missing or wrong in the bulk of the lectures, although I expect that the menagerie of elementary particles in chapter 2 is incomplete. In general, though, Feynman is pretty clear about when 1963-science is ignorant about something.
posted by theodolite at 3:10 AM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, very incomplete. They didnt know about quarks yet. So basically everything about pions, mesons and baryons is incomplete.
posted by empath at 4:20 AM on September 15, 2013


What kind of encoding gives you things like:
$105^\circ3'$
$60^\circ$
$2\times10^{-8}$
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:51 AM on September 15, 2013


It seems to be TeX. Never mind.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:58 AM on September 15, 2013


I've never studied physics and don't intend to, I just came into this thread because I love discussions and anecdotes about Richard Feynman. What a great man he was. And if I didn't already have a wonderful and loving father and for some reason got to pick, he would be my choice.

But hey even I attempted to RTFA and he really makes physics relatable to the average smart (if I may be so bold) person. This is a great resource, thanks!
posted by onlyconnect at 9:38 AM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for turning me on to this collection. I had to come back here to post this Feynman quote, from chapter 3:

"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!"
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:31 AM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. That's fantastic.

Not only is it a great resource for people with a casual interest in physics to read a lecture or two, but this will make it easy to assign single lectures as required reading in courses. No more forcing students to sign up for reserve copie or make do with scanned PDFs, nor wasting faculty time negotiating one-off reader deals with publishers.

Also, I highly recommend the "symmetry and physical laws" lecture to anyone who hasn't read it. It's brilliant.
posted by eotvos at 1:32 PM on September 15, 2013


Mel's lost sandal, that quote always stuck in my mind!
posted by JHarris at 8:19 PM on September 15, 2013


(Although I remember it from the speech as "to drink it down, and forget the whole thing." Maybe it was edited a bit in post.)
posted by JHarris at 8:20 PM on September 15, 2013


The ideas in "Symmetry and Physical Laws" (Vol 1 chapter 52 in my "Definitive and Extended Edition", ha) are also covered in "The Character of Physical Law", published as a stand-alone book. (These were the Messenger Lectures, Cornell 1964.)

I can't recommend Chapter 22, "Algebra", strongly enough - I've raved about it elsewhere on MeFi. Starting from integers and counting, Feynman leads a tour through algebra, complex numbers, trigonometry, and after ten square roots of ten, he gets to the most mysterious, elegant, deep, mystical connection between algebra (counting, 1, 2, 3) and geometry (circles, spheres, cones):

e^(i*pi) + 1 = 0.

It is fantastic.

Also, Chapter 26 introduces the Principle of Least Action in a really solid and accessible way - perfect background to then appreciate Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life", another thing I've raved about elsewhere.

(Sigh, I'm a broken record.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:49 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


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