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All of Richard Feynman’s physics lectures are now available free online (2014) (sciencealert.com)
271 points by mpweiher on Dec 11, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

From the site:

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. [1]

Do the content creators understand the basic mechanics of how web browsers work? If someone was to watch the cached video on their drive are they then breaking the policy stated?

[1] http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/

There's always been a disconnect between people who understand technology and people who write disclaimers and laws. Being smart doesn't protect you from doing something which is a violation of the law, even though there may be gray areas. Yes, watching the cached video might be a gray area - but the spirit of the disclaimer is obviously to prevent storing it in such a way that you can't access it unless they can provide it at the point of request.


But caching is such a mechanism.

Not sure if this is a flag I enabled, but Chrome allows you to view content from the cache.

Wait... firing up the wget now.

On kind of a related note, I've recently read "Surely you're joking mr. Feynman" it's a funny and engaging book. It's really amazing what he was able to learn.

Thanks for posting the lectures, I'll take a look.

That book was so funny. My favorite is the story where he finds out he can get the radio broadcast an hour early, and so he uses that to troll his relatives into thinking he can predict the outcome. I forget exactly what it was -- a sports game, or something.

There was also an interesting one about how he and some of the other physicists tracked the passage of time differently. Like one guy would imagine a little clock ticking, and could parallel process, whereas Feynman would say the seconds in his head, so he was fucked if he tried to do other shit at the same time.

Yeah, if I recall correctly, he concluded that those who thought visually about the time could do other auditory tasks in parallel, but not visual tasks. The opposite was true for those who thought audio-ly about time.

I quite enjoyed that book, it's one of my favourites, actually.

One part that caught me by surprise was Feynman's praise for the quick decision to use the atomic bomb. That stood out as something in apparent disagreement with the character of his which I learned of, and I didn't know what it was about that that he respected.

It's been a long time since I've read it, but I'm guessing the saving lives part of dropping the bomb.

Also, they didn't have the norm of a 70 year history of not nuking other countries over disagreements, and had been in a brutal war for years, so they probably though differently about the use of nukes.

> It's been a long time since I've read it, but I'm guessing the saving lives part of dropping the bomb.

I wasn't baiting an argument about the bombs, but I just don't want to let it slide by. That is with almost certainty a false claim. I know we don't admit in America that we are capable of producing and consuming propaganda, so it's exceptionally difficult to communicate that idea despite what facts & what leadership at the time said that is in the historical record. Something swept under the rug was that there were many senior military leaders who pleaded to not use the bombs on urban, civilian population centers, at the very least. Also contrary to popular belief, the Japanese leadership was actually desperately looking to find a way out of the war. It was over by that point. Hirohito had no way for his empire to survive, and he selfishly did not want to relinquish his role as emperor (he otherwise offered to surrender if he could).

Feynman wasn't a military general at the time and he likely had no way or time available of knowing the full consequences of use of the bomb.

My high school history textbook told me that the bombs saved lives. President Eisenhower said there was no reason to drop them. There are two sides to that story.

Did he praise that decision? I don't remember that, and I do remember him praising the one guy who quit after Germany surrendered -- Feynman said roughly that the rest of them, including himself, kept working without reflecting that their original motive was gone, and that was a mistake.

> Did he praise that decision?

That's the way I remember it, and that's what I thought was so surprising. I remember him saying something close to 'you have all these people's lives on the line and are able to make that decision,' and respecting that ability to make that decision

Hmmm, I remember a passage sort of like that: he'd been sent to consult on safety arrangements at Oak Ridge, and concluded that it just couldn't work unless workers there knew something of the nature of the dangerous radioactive materials they were processing. He escalated to a general or some other high military figure, who listened, thought for a couple minutes, and decided right there to do what Feynman recommended. Feynman at the time was a twentysomething just out of grad school, and Oak Ridge was already a big deal.

Does that ring more of a bell? Maybe it's my memory instead, though I've read this book a few times now.

It was specifically about dropping the bombs. I wish I had the book and I could look it up. He said something like 'you had all these lives on the line' and how he respected it was a hard decision to make to drop them.

I have the book here. The only part he talks about the dropping of the bomb itself are these passages (p155-156):

[After the first successful bomb test, all the scientists at Los Alamos were celebrating except one: Bob Wilson.]

> He said, "It's a terrible thing we made."

> I said, "But you started it. You got us into it."

> You see, what happened to me—what happened to the rest of us—is we started for a good reason, then you're working very hard to accomplish something and it's a pleasure, it's excitement. And you stop thinking, you know; you just stop. Bob Wilson was the only one who was thinking about it, at that moment.

> I returned to civilization shortly after that [...] and my first impression was a strange one. [...] I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth ... How far from here was 34th Street? ... All those buildings, all smashed—and so on. And I would go along and I would see people building a bridge, or they'd just be making a road, and I though they're crazy, they don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless.

> But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead.

The line "I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead" may be the one that seems to praise the decision to drop the bomb. But I think he's referring to the other people who went ahead and made bridges, when all seemed futile to him.

This is the sort of situation Google books was made for. It's perfect for finding a citation from a bit of text you remember.

OK, thanks -- I'll try to remember this if I dip into it again.

Yes, a really cool book that I enjoyed with a good laugh. There is also a somewhat sequel that I'm hoping to read someday "What Do You Care What Other People Think?"

Also recommended: The Theoretical Minimum, courses by Leonard Susskind [1].

[1] http://theoreticalminimum.com/courses

These were really good.

Are there any universities that are taking advantage of the blooming of online content in their traditional programs and combining it with small-group / individual study sessions?

Even if just internally (e.g. film Complex Analysis 101 one year, that stuff doesn't change, and not need to lecture it again), but still give the assignments and personal feedback. Perhaps do a weekly new video'd 'feedback for everyone' for the course based on homework understanding. It certainly is not done in universities in the country I'm in.

It seems an ideal opportunity to do more with less.

Since there was recently a post about fusion, and this seems to be of interest to many people on HN, here are really fantastic videos from University of Wisconsin's Intro to Plasma Physics class. These got my dumbass through the program http://mediasite.engr.wisc.edu/Mediasite/Catalog/catalogs/de...


I got really excited because I've been reading these on the caltech website, and from the title, without looking at the date, I thought this was suggesting that videos of the lectures had been made available (!!) but, alas.

The lectures are great though. Really engaging and creative, and they help you rethink some things you may have picked up in physics class.

There are lectures on Youtube, but I think Microsoft did a great job on cleaning them up and captioning them. You can find them here (link in the article does not point to the current location anymore):


Cool, they've updated that page so that it no longer requires Silverlight.

Those are not the 'Feynmann Lectures' that became the books, are they? (From the titles, they seem to be different, but the videos do not play on my browser).

Are there videos? I thought there was only audio.

Those are not the Feynman lectures. Are there videos of those?

AFAIK Caltech lectures that served as the basis for "The Feynman Lectures" don't exist in video, audio only.

The Cornell ones recorded by BBC and mentioned here exist in video form.

No. The Feynman Lectures were the lectures in his physics classes at Caltech in the 60s. The notes were adapted into the three volumes of the book.

Weren't these lectures recorded as well?

HN loves fenyman

Physics is like sex, it's only fun if you're doing it too

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