Bill Gates Puts Richard Feynman Lectures Online

From The New York Times:

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates believes that if he had been able to watch physicist Richard Feynman lecture on physics in 1964 his life might have played out differently…

However, Mr. Gates, who is also well known for his sharp and varied intellectual interests and his philanthropic commitment to education, said this week that he had purchased the rights to videos of seven lectures that Dr. Feynman gave at Cornell University called “The Character of Physical Law,” in an effort to make them broadly available via the Internet.

Microsoft Research announced on Wednesday that Mr. Gates, who purchased the rights to the videos privately from the Feynman estate, BBC and from Cornell University, in cooperation with Curtis Wong, a Microsoft researcher, has created a Web site that is intended to enhance the videos by annotating them with related digital content.

Note you will need to download Microsoft’s Silverlight to get around the site. When you access the site, you will get prompted to download it automatically.

via @courosa

by | Permalink | Comments (12) |

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Comments (12)
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  • Praveen says:

    Why cant he just put em on youtube? he wants us to install Silver light?

  • Agreed. I’m pleased to see this material made more accessible, but to be universally accessible it would need to be put on the net in a format that anyone can run, on what ever platform they run. YouTube would be better than silverlight given the penetration of flash, but even better would be putting them online using HTML 5 tag…

  • Just Looking says:

    At first I wasn’t going to watch these because they require Silverlight and I had avoided it so far. However, they looked too good to pass up. So I decided to install it in a virtual machine that could be deleted when I was done.

    I’ve watched the first three so far and they are very very good. I also noticed that Silverlight allows note taking and real time links (only in the first video so far).

    So, while I wish these were downloadable in a format I could watch off line in VLC, it was worth installing Silverlight in a VM.

  • Phill Rogers says:

    Bill’s web site seemed to be down when I tried (still is) so I Googled and found the lectures already on another site using flash.

    I’m sure Bill’s like links & annotation will be great but in the mean time:

  • Gene De Lisa says:

    site is still down.
    concept: A+
    implementation: F-

  • Sharon Stevenson says:

    Here we are almost 7 months beyond the last comment noting the site wasn’t up and …it still isn’t up. Way to go, Bill. Just one other reason I find myself now routinely referring to Microhard.
    I was about to write a note to the site about this…but better to leave as is, as testimony to the sad state of philosophy behind Microsoft.

  • Jeff Lewis says:

    It’s working fine. Perhaps you’re blocking Silverlight?

    As for requiring Silverlight – if you’re using YouTube – you’re running Flash. Silverlight is a lot kinder on your system than Flash is…

    As for HTML5 – that’s not a widely supported protocol yet so building a site that relies on it – especially the video features – would be kind of mental.

    Silverlight can do a LOT of things HTML5 can’t and it can do the things HTML5 can do more easily. Complain all you want, but until the web gets a powerful, object oriented scripting language that’s easily extensable, supports complex graphics (and 3D graphics) in a portable way and allows for a consistent frontend and backend development approach, things like Silverlight will continue to have a place.

    • panzi says:

      > if you’re using YouTube – you’re running Flash.nnNo, I’m running HTML5.nn> As for HTML5 – that’s not a widely supported protocol yet so building a site that relies on it – especially the video features – would be kind of mental.nnnnOnly IE lacks support for it. And it is not a protocol. It is a markup language (HTML = Hyper Text Markup Language).nnnHTML5 *does* support 3D graphics (WebGL). I never had a need for the Java or Silverlight plugins except when some exotic services tries to force it upon me for things they could have used HTML+JavaScript.

  • Ceece says:

    I’ve installed Silverlight and it seems to work but the videos take an age to load and won’t play continously. I think it’s using way too much of my memory

  • Maddy says:

    Can anyone help? I once found some old black and white footage of Richard Feynman being interviewed in which he mentioned how hard he had to concentrate and work to understand and achieve what he did. I would love to show this to my students (I’m a maths teacher).

    It was on Youtube just a minute or two long. It might have been another part of this Feynman interview


  • Ramin says:

    I think if he’d just make more babies instead of trying to help a countless number of unappreciative idiots, like those who bitch about installing silverlight, he’d make a better impact on the world.

  • Brooks says:

    Why all this concentration into the format through which Gates released the material? Of course he would release it in a Microsoft format, are we under the impression that another company would have done any differently? The fact that he has purchased them and made them totally free to access is simply amazing. This material is enough to pull the United States out of a massive scientific decline. No matter the platform, Gates deserves a pat on the back for this one. This is a truly forward thinking line of action.

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