Bill Gates Makes Feynman Lectures Available Online

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Dr. Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was one of the most revered physicists of the 20th century. His work in Quantum Electrodynamics earned him a Nobel Prize in 1965, and his famous "Red Book" series of Lectures on Physics have been a staple for several generations of physics students. Recently, Bill Gates put seven of the Messenger Series Lectures by Dr. Feynman on the Internet as part of Project Tuva.

When I was a graduate student in physics, Dr. Feynman was my hero, and the hero of many of my student friends. I don't think I really understood several key concepts in physics and electromagnetism until I read Dr. Feynman's Red Book series, The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

Richard Feynman

Dr. Richard Feynman (1918-88)

What made Dr. Feynman so great was his relative lack of hubris and single minded dedication to mathematical and physical insight. That he was a high genius allowed him considerable leeway as well, despite his eccentricities, at the California Institute of Technology.

As a site that covers Apple, we often cover news related to Microsoft as well, and this is no exception. We welcome Mr. Gates using his wealth acquired at Microsoft to make this valuable and historic contribution to the scientific and technical community via Project Tuva -- a name derived from from one of Dr. Feynman's own many adventures.


Note: you will need Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in to view these lectures.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This is obviously a cheap publicity stunt. I bet they are narrated by Dean Cain, right? Optimized for Internet Explorer 8, no doubt. What chafes my ascii is that Dr. Feynman is such a sell-out. First, it was shorting Morton Thiokol during the Rogers commission, and now this Microsoft thing. Hero? No. Zero.


The man’s been dead for 20 years…i don’t think you can call him a sellout.

And updating my Silverlight and restarting firefox seems to have it working just fine


that Dr. Feynman is such a sell-out

How so? In this article, he seems to have been a key player in exposing the role of the “O"ring failure despite the Rogers Commission’s extensive cover-up actions:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Ahem… Frequent readers of this blog—especially the articles about Microsoft being incapable of keeping the outside of its own Whizzinator dry while taking a leak—know that Bosco was being a tad ironic above. Yes, BurmaYank, Feinman called out O-ring manufacturer Morton Thiokol during the Rogers Commission hearings when NASA and the commission were covering it up with bureaucratic BS. A few of us grey hairs here actually lived through that history and don’t have to look it up on Wikipedia grin.

So seriously Mac fanbois… Why is this Feynman lecture thing (with the obligatory Silverlight dependency) OK, but donating $1 million to Feeding America is only a cynical scheme? Why is this praiseworthy, but Dean Cain narrating a hilariously edgy (and web only) barf ad in bad taste? Well besides the obvious fact that barf never tastes that good. Discuss.


Bravo, Mr. Gates.  Bravo!


Does not seem to like silverlight 1.0, sigh, another reason to eventually go intel.


Safari gets stuck “preparing content” but Firefox works just fine.

Anyone know why?

John Martellaro

Safari 4.0.2 and Silverlight 2.0.40115.0 worked fine for me.



Silverlight 2 is intel only, no good reason to expect anyone to develop for hardware that’s out of production.


Safari 4.0.2 and Silverlight 3.0.40624.0 worked fine together (with intel processor). No browser reboot needed, just uploaded to the browser after clicking on the downloaded app. I applaud Gates’ effort to make these lectures available. Whether or not one agrees with the politics or business philosophy of the lecturer or the lecture host, respectively, one can still appreciate a meaningful contribution to intellectual or cultural enrichment.

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