Feynman Lecture Notes

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, original course handouts, 1961-63

The Feynman Lectures on Physics was based on a two-year introductory physics course that Richard Feynman taught at Caltech from 1961 to 1963; it was published in three volumes during the years 1963 to 1965, and used as the introductory physics textbook at Caltech for nearly two decades.  However, Feynman's original students had no textbook—their only written guidance came from materials that were created "on the fly" (by Robert Leighton, Matt Sands, graduate students, and others), mimeographed, and handed out in recitation sections and labs. These materials included lecture summaries and outlines, lab guidelines, descriptions of experiments, homework assignments, exams, and quizzes. Among Feynman's students was Dennis Oberg, who kept his course handouts all these many years, and generously allowed The Feynman Lectures Website to copy them so that we can present them here, with Caltech's permission, as historical documentation of Feynman's original undergraduate physics course. [A new presentation of these handouts featuring deep-zoomable images can be seen here.]

"Alternate Way to Handle Electrodynamics," by Richard Feynman, December 1963

In 2008 Matt Sands told me that in about the middle of the 2nd year of the FLP lectures, Feynman started to complain that he was disappointed that he had been unable to be more original. He explained that he thought he had now found the "right way to do it" -- unfortunately too late. He said that he would start with the vector and scalar potentials, then everything would be much simpler and more transparent. These notes are the only known documentation of Feynman's "right way to do it."

Notes on the Shelter Island II Conference by Richard P. Feynman, 1983

... with comments by S.S. Schweber, author of “QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga” and many other fine books.

James C. Keck's notes on Feynman's Cornell courses, 1946-1949

Here you will find James C. Keck's personal notes for three courses taught by Richard Feynman at Cornell University: A two-part course in Mathematical Methods in Physics (Fall 1946 & Spring 1947), Advanced Quantum Mechanics (Fall, 1948), and High Energy Phenomena (Summer 1949), hosted by www.jameskeckcollectedworks.orgKeck was 22-24 years old when he attended these courses, six years younger than professor Feynman. Both men had come to Cornell after spending the final years of WW II (1944-46) at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project.  Indeed, 1947 must have been a busy year for Keck, for not only did he graduate from Cornell with his B.S. in Physics, he also married Margaret Ramsey, another young scientist on the Manhattan Project whom he had met at Los Alamos during the war.

James J. Duderstadt's notes on Feynman's Caltech Courses: 

    Ph 205a Advanced Quantum Mechanics, 1967

    Ph 230 Particle Physics, 1968

James J. Duderstadt was the 11th president of the University of Michigan (1988-1996). He earned his Ph.D. in engineering science and physics at Caltech (1967). Duderstadt's dissertation Theory of Neutron Wave Propogation won the American Nuclear Society Mark Mills award, an honor presented to the nation's most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in nuclear science and engineering.

John Neer's notes on Feynman's Hughes Lectures, 1966-71 

Here you will find aerospace engineer John Neer's notes on lectures Feynman gave to scientists and engineers at Hughes Aircraft Corporation in Malibu, California. Topics discussed include Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology (1966-67), Relativity, Electrostatics, Electrodynamics (1967-68),  Quantum Mechanics,  Quantum Electrodynamics (1968-69), Molecular Biology (1969-70),  and Mathematical Methods in Physics and Engineering (1970-71).


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