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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