The Feynman Lectures on Physics

feynman_postcard

Richard Phillips Feynman was born on the 11th of May of 1918 in New York (USA) and died on the 15th of February of 1988 in Los Angeles (USA). In 1965 he was awarded with the Nobel Price in Physics, together with Sin-Itiro Tomonaga and Julian Swinger “for their fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles”. The work of Richard P. Feynman in the field of Physics provided important and useful tools to future generations of physicists to understand the fundamental particles and their interactions: the feynman diagrams.

A lot has been written about Feynman, both about his work and personal life. Besides his work in Physics, Feynman had an exciting personal life. Anecdotes like those related to his travels to Brasil and his interest in bongos or the relationship with his first wife, including her death, have been extensively addressed. Moreover, even a film about this story was made. His life has been also critized specially the fact that he made available his private life to the public, considering that his contribution to the Physics was so wide and profound. Despite of his contribution to Physics and his interesting personal life, Feynman greatly contributed to science communication through various public conferences like, for example, the Messenger Lectures given at the Cornell University in 1964 where he addressed aspects such as the law of gravitation or the conservation principles, or the conferences given at UCLA about quantum electrodynamics to an audience with limited or non-existent knowledge about Physics.

Although I would like to write a post (or more) about Feynman diagrams for non-physicists or even about path integrals or quantum electrodynamics, it is not my intention now. My objective is to present the lectures he gave in 1961 and 1962 at Caltecth to the freshman and shophomore clases of the University. The reason is that, recently, Caltech and the Feynman Lectures Website have re-edited such lectures in HTML format and have corrected more than 800 errata with respect to previous versions. The most interesting thing about this versión is that previously figures and graphics, as well as text and equations were hardly readable, but now, thanks to the use of LaTeX typesetting language, the presentation has been improved.

At the moment of writing this post, only the first volumen of the lectures, which contains mainly mechanics, radiation and heat, has been re-edited. I think, and it is my personal opinión, that not any single Physics student should finish his or her studies without consulting, or even study in detail, the Feynman Lectures on Physics

Here it is the link to the Feynman Lectures on Physics so you can enjoy them.

Moreover, any person interested in physics should ‘have a look at them’ at some point in his or her life. It is probable that he or she would not understand a word… but they are very interesting and illustrative anyway. In any case, even if the Feynman Lectures are not easy to read from a Physics and Matemathics standpoint, what is easy to read is any of his books reproducing his lectures or his life, and here, I strongly recommend that any person interested in Physics, and those who are not, use a few hours of his or her life in reading them. I guarantee you will not regret it!

References:

The Nobel Price in Physics 1965. Richard P. Feynman – Facts http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1965/feynman-facts.html

Richard P. Feynman. Electrodinámica Cuántica.

Richard P. Feynman. El carácter de la ley física.

Richard P. Feynman. Seis Piezas Fñaciles: La Física explicada por un genio.

Richard P. Feynman. ¿Qué te importa lo que piensen los demás?

Richard P. Feynman. Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman.

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