Another story from my summer at the Summer Science Program – the summer of 1974 doing orbital calculations on an asteroid. That was back when I wanted to be an astronomer/physicist when I grew up. Our teaching assistants were frequently talking about a great resource for beginning physicists called the Feynman Lectures – based on the lectures that a supposedly awesome physics professor at Cal Tech had given.
We took a field trip that summer to Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, and stopped at the Cal Tech bookstore afterward. I decided to buy a copy of the Feynman Lectures, which helped me through college physics and have traveled with me ever since. I keep moving them from house to house, even though my physics days are long gone and I truly have no need for physics books.
I also became interested in Feynman himself – besides being a brilliant physicist he was quite a character. I followed his role on the panel investigating the Challenger Space Shuttle accident, and have read his books (Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What People Think). He’s a seriously interesting person. And so I can’t bring myself to get rid of the Feynman Lectures – they remind me of a time in my life I remember very fondly.
What brings this up? I read yesterday that the Feynman Lectures are now available free online. Here’s a link to the Lectures.
And even better, there are some of his lectures available on Youtube! Not that I have any spare time, but I’m going to watch these. I’m so out of practice, they’re probably way above my head now, but I can’t resist the chance to get to finally see and hear these lectures I’ve known about for so many years.