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The Feynman Lectures Photos

Tom Harvery, Richard Feynman and a student after Lecture S9, Illustrations of Electricity in the Atmosphere, October 25, 1962.

About the photos

These are the photos taken of Richard Feynman lecturing to undergrauates in 1961-64. The photographer was Tom Harvery, Caltech's Physics Lecture Hall Manager, who was also responsible for tape-recording the lectures, and preparing physics demonstrations.

The original photos are preserved in The Caltech Archives as 35 mm negative strips, organized by lecture in plastic negative preservers, with 15-38 frames per lecture, 3043 frames all together. In 2009, they were digitized at Caltech's request by John Sullivan of the Huntington’s Munger Library. The scanning of the negatives was performed on a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED film scanner at its full optical resolution of 4000 dpi, 16 bit greyscale. The negative scans were then converted to positive images using Lasersoft Imaging SilverFast software, and the positive images were recorded to Gold DVD disks. The digitization of the FLP Photos was made possible by a generous donation from Carver Mead.

Unfortunately, six of the lectures lack photos. In some cases it's because the lecture was given on a weekend when Harvey wasn't working, in other cases the negatives seem to have been lost or misplaced. It is hoped that future research will uncover the missing photos so they can be added to this repository.

Viewing the photos

To facilitate online viewing, the photos have been converted to a deep-zoomable format. They are served by a Cantaloupe IIIF image server, and displayed using OpenSeadragon image viewing software. The photos are presented in an "image viewer" application designed to aid in their organization and study. A description of the image viewer can be found here.