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Feynman

Richard Feynman: A Comprehensive list of Books & Videos

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Well since I will no doubt be seeking help from others on the observational and imaging side of things in the coming months, I thought I would contribute to the site in a way that I am able to by sharing a list of Feynman links that I composed for an Open University forum (and also as a FB note) about a year ago. 

I compiled this list of resources primarily with the hope that it might help to inspire and motivate those new to physics and/or those who are not yet familiar with Feynman’s life and work, but I hope that already fully fledged Feynman fans and/or those who are already well-read in physics will also find it useful.

For those who are not familiar with this great man, Richard P. Feynman was an American theoretical physicist known for his work on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965), particle physics, and the superfluidity of liquid helium.  Perhaps more importantly, he was an excellent communicator and keen populariser of science; possessing a colourful, influential personality, he has inspired several generations of physicists like no other.

I’ve separated the resources into the five headed sections listed below:

Books – Reminiscences & Biographies

Books – Texts, Lectures & Popular Science

Videos – Documentaries & Talks

Videos – Lectures and Popular Science

Audio Recordings

The first section contains a list of the most popular – and I think the best – of his autobiographical and biographical works, and the second section is a fairly comprehensive list of his texts, popular science books and lecture transcriptions.  The three remaining sections contain what I believe to be a complete list of all Feynman video and audio recordings freely available on the net - there are other documentaries and fan videos out there, but they use content from one or more of the resources already listed below and are also usually not quite up to the same standard as the original resources. 

Where to start?

If you are new to Feynman and want to learn about the man himself, a good place to start would be to watch BBC Horizon (1981): The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, and read Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman?

For an excellent introduction to the nature of the laws of physics, you might like to start with The Character of Physical Law, which is based on a set of lectures given by Feynman at Cornell University in 1964.

So, on to the lists...

BOOKS – REMINISCENCES & BIOGRAPHIES

Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

A series of engaging and sometimes hilarious anecdotes, I reckon this amazing book should be read by everyone!  Go buy it!

Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton 

‘What Do You Care What Other People Think?’: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

Some more excellent Feynman anecdotes; if you read Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman!, you’ll almost certainly end up ordering this book straight after.

'What Do You Care What Other People Think?': Further Adventures of a Curious Character

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

This is primarily a collection of some of the best anecdotes from previous books, but it does also contain some new material.

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman

Tuva or Bust!

This is a book written by Feynman's best friend, Ralph Leighton, about their attempts to visit Tuva, which was then in the heart of Soviet Russia.

Tuva or Bust! 

No Ordinary Genius

This book was written by Christopher Sykes, the filmmaker who was responsible for four Horizon episodes on Feynman (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1981), The Quest for Tannu Tuva (1988), and No Ordinary Genius – 2 Episodes (1993)), as well as the Fun to Imagine series. It covers pretty much the same material as the Horizon episodes that it shares its name with.

No Ordinary Genius

Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics

An excellent biography by James Gleick.

Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science

I’ve personally yet to read this biography by Lawrence Krauss, but a couple of friends have given it a thumbs up, and it was also recently awarded Physics World (published by the Institute of Physics) Book of the Year for 2011.

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science 

BOOKS – TEXTS, LECTURES & POPULAR SCIENCE

The Character of Physical Law

This book is based on the series of seven lectures that Feynman gave at Cornell University in 1964.  Links to video recordings of these lectures are included in the ‘Videos’ list below.

The Character of Physical Law

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

Possibly the most popular physics texts ever written, these three volumes are based on lectures given by Feynman at Caltech in the early 60s.

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

The Feynman Lectures on Physics – Online Version

Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website have published a free online edition of all three volumes; you can also find exercises here.

The Feynman Lectures on Physics - Online Version

Feynman’s Lost Lecture: The Motions of the Planets Around the Sun

This is referred to the ‘lost lecture’ because it was not included in The Feynman Lectures on Physics due to missing notes; however, the notes were later found and converted into the above book.  The lecture was originally delivered by Feynman at Caltech in 1964.

Feynman’s Lost Lecture: The Motions of Planets around the Sun

QED – The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

This book is based on the four Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures on quantum electrodynamics that Feynman gave at the University of Auckland in 1979.  Links to video recordings of these lectures are also included in the ‘Videos’ list below.

QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter 

Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Physics Explained

A book containing six of the less challenging chapters from The Feynman Lectures on Physics (above).

Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Physics Explained

Size Not-so-easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry and Space-time

Another six chapters from The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

Six Not-so-easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-time

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures

The text of the lecture given at Cambridge in 1986; a link to a video recording of this lecture is included in the ‘Videos’ list below.

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures

Lectures on Gravitation

A transcription of lectures on gravitation given by Feynman at Caltech in 1962.

Lectures on Gravitation

The Theory of Fundamental Processes

Feynman covers the basic ideas of quantum mechanics and relativity before getting on to the main topic of the lectures: QED.

The Theory of Fundamental Processes

Quantum Electrodynamics

A collection of lectures and papers on QED.

Quantum Electrodynamics

Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals

Feynman introduces the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics and discusses its applications.

Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals

Statistical Mechanics: A Set of Lectures

Note of lectures given by Feynman on statistical mechanics and the physics of condensed matter.

Statistical Mechanics: A Set of Lectures

VIDEOS – DOCUMENTARIES & TALKS 

BBC Horizon (1981): The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

This is probably my favourite science programme of all time, and is at least in part responsible for my fascination with physics.  If you only watch one of these videos, this is the one that you should watch!

BBC Horizon (1981): The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

The Feynman Series

Following the success of The Sagan Series, the creator has put together a Feynman Series of wonderfully inspirational videos.

The Feynman Series (Part 1) - Beauty

The Feynman Series (Part 2) - Honours

The Feynman Series (Part 3) - Curiosity

The Feynman Series (Part 4) - The Key to Science

The Feynman Series (Part 5) - Think Like a Martian

BBC Horizon (1988): The Quest for Tannu Tuva

PBS The Last Journey of a Genius

This episode contains footage from the 1981 episode of BBC Horizon and Fun to Imagine, but it mainly focuses on his final days and his obsession with travelling to Tuva with his friend, Ralph Leighton.  It was broadcast in the UK under the title The Quest for Tannu Tuva, and in the US under the title The Last Journey of a Genius.

BBC Horizon (1988): The Quest for Tannu Tuva

BBC Horizon (1993): No Ordinary Genius (2 Episodes)

PBS The Best Mind Since Einstein

These two episodes of Horizon also contain some footage from the 1981 programme, but it is mostly new material from the late 80s and early 90s, including a number of interviews with his sister, friends, and colleagues.  It was broadcast in the UK under the title No Ordinary Genius, and in the US under the title The Best Mind since Einstein.

BBC Horizon (1993):  No Ordinary Genius (2 Episodes)

BBC Horizon (1964): Strangeness Minus Three

Feynman discusses symmetry, strangeness, and the omega-minus particle.

BBC Horizon (1964): Strangeness Minus Three

BBC (2013): The Fantastic Mr Feynman

25 years after his death, family and friends celebrate Feynman's life in this new BBC documentary.

BBC - The Fantastic Mr Feynman (2013)

ITV (1973): Take the World From Another Point of View

A Yorkshire TV programme first broadcast in 1973.

Take the World from another Point of View

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (CERN talk by Lawrence Krauss)

As the title suggests, this is a talk that Lawrence Krauss gave at CERN on his book published last year.  Krauss seems to have got nearly all of his material – for this talk, at least – from Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think?; so if you have read those books already, you probably won’t learn anything new from this talk.

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science (CERN talk) – Lawrence Krauss

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (talk by Lawrence Krauss)

This is pretty much the same talk as the one above, though here he is giving it at a book store and so he includes a little more basic science for those with no background in the subject.

Lawrence Krauss - Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science

VIDEOS – LECTURES & POPULAR SCIENCE

Richard Feynman Messenger Lectures (1964): The Character of Physical Law

This famous series of seven lectures was given by Feynman at Cornell University in 1964 as part of the Messenger Lecture series.  Note: these are the lectures which are featured in Microsoft’s Project Tuva.

The Character of Physical Law – Part 1 – The Law of Gravitation

The Character of Physical Law – Part 2 – The Relation of Mathematics to Physics

The Character of Physical Law – Part 3 – The Great Conservation Principles

The Character of Physical Law – Part 4 – Symmetry in Physical Law

The Character of Physical Law – Part 5 – The Distinction of Past and Future

The Character of Physical Law – Part 6 – Probability and Uncertainty

The Character of Physical Law – Part 7 – Seeking New Laws 

BBC (1983): Fun to Imagine

Feynman explains how the world works in this series of 12 short videos that were first broadcast on BBC in 1983.

Fun to Imagine 1: Jiggling Atoms

Fun to Imagine 2: Fire

Fun to Imagine 3: Rubber Bands

Fun to Imagine 4: Magnets (and ‘Why?’ Questions...)

Fun to Imagine 5: Bigger is Electricity!

Fun to Imagine 6: The Mirror

Fun to Imagine 7: The Train

Fun to Imagine 8: Seeing Things

Fun to Imagine 9: Big Numbers and Stuff – Part 1

Fun to Imagine 10: Big Numbers and Stuff – Part 2

Fun to Imagine 11: Ways of Thinking – Part 1

Fun to Imagine 12: Ways of Thinking – Part 2

Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures (1979): QED

In these Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures – given at the University of Auckland in 1979 – Feynman talks about quantum electrodynamics, the theory for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.

QED Part 1: Photons – Corpuscles of Light

QED Part 2:  Fits of Reflection and Transmission – Quantum Behaviour

QED Part 3:  Electrons and their Interactions

QED Part 4: New Queries

Esalen Workshop (1983): Quantum Mechanical View of Reality

In this workshop given in Esalen in 1983, Feynman discusses his theories of how the world looks from the point of view of modern quantum physics, wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the question of hidden variables, Bell's theorem, and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 1.1

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 1.2

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 1.3

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 1.4

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 1.5

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 2.1

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 2.2

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 2.3

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 3

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 4

Idiosyncratic Thinking (1984): Tiny Machines

This was a lecture that Feynman gave on Nanotechnology in 1984.

Idiosyncratic Thinking: Tiny Machines

Idiosyncratic Thinking (1985): Computers From the Inside Out

In this lecture delivered in 1985, Feynman discusses the basics of computer science.

Idiosyncratic Thinking: Computers From The Inside Out - The Feynman Lecture on Heuristics

Dirac Memorial Lecture (1986): Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics

Feynman delivers this lecture at Cambridge University.  Because of the poor resolution of this recording, it is impossible to see the overhead projector screen, and that makes this lecture very difficult to follow.

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics – 1986 Dirac Memorial Lecture

AUDIO RECORDINGS

Los Alamos From Below (1975)

A talk given by Feynman at Santa Barbara on February 6, 1975 about his time working on the Manhattan Project.

Los Alamos From Below

Six Easy Pieces

Recordings of the original lectures on which the book is based.

Six Easy Pieces (Audio)

There are also a number of additional audio recordings of Feynman which I am currently unable to find freely available on YouTube or similar:

The Feynman Lectures on Physics: The Complete Audio Collection

Recordings of the original lectures from which Feynman’s famous texts were transcribed.  I am unable to find a link to a freely available copy of this on YouTube, but you can find more information on volume numbers and titles here.

Six Not-So-Easy Pieces

Recordings of the original lectures on which the book is based. 

Feynman’s Lost Lecture: The Motion of the Planets around the Sun

A recording of the original lecture on which the book is based.

Safecracker Suite

A collection of drum pieces interspersed with Feynman telling anecdotes.

Nature of Matter

All I know about this is that it exists!  Not only am I unable to find a link to a freely available copy, I have no idea – beyond inferences made from the title – what this audio recording is of.

Well that is about it!  I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I have.

Robert Ley.

Edited by admin
Updated by original poster
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Oh wow, bless you Sir! What a feast. I worship Feynman and totally agree with all you've said.

Olly

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A topic worthy of not being lost, thanks for posting. I've made it a sticky.

Cheers

Ant

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What a feast indeed! Thanks for the info and all those links... and welcome to the forum. :smiley:

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Quality post - endless Crimbo pressies for the future there!

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Thank you for posting this up, Feynman. Great stuff :icon_salut:

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Guest

A great Scientist. Thank you for the comprehensive listings )

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Just discovered the following links to over 7 more hours of Feynman!

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 2.3

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 3

Quantum Mechanical View of Reality 4

In this workshop given in Esalen in 1983, Feynman discusses his theories of how the world looks from the point of view of modern quantum physics, wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the question of hidden variables, Bell's theorem, and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.

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Yet more thanks from me. I watched the Challenger investigation drama last week which prompted me to look up the Horizon program 'The Pleasure of Finding Things Out' , which is excelent.

Will have to try to find loads of time to watch the videos in your super list. Thanks!!

Steve

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My introduction to Feynman came from reading Genius by James Gleick many years ago.

I was hooked.

Great character but I found a short clip on YouTube of his old work mate, Murray Gell-Mann demonstrating that he could be a real pain too!

Struggling to link it on my slablet but it's worth looking for :)

Sent from my ZT ICS using Tapatalk HD

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My introduction to Feynman came from reading Genius by James Gleick many years ago.

I was hooked.

Great character but I found a short clip on YouTube of his old work mate, Murray Gell-Mann demonstrating that he could be a real pain too!

Struggling to link it on my slablet but it's worth looking for :)

Sent from my ZT ICS using Tapatalk HD

I think I know the one you mean; Feynman certainly liked the sound of his own voice!

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Very cool :)

When I hear his extremely Jewish accent he always reminds of a cartoon character from many years ago (Aardvark the ant eater).

Anyway, thank you for the links etc!

Edited by Cath

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My introduction to Feynman came from reading Genius by James Gleick many years ago.

I was hooked.

Great character but I found a short clip on YouTube of his old work mate, Murray Gell-Mann demonstrating that he could be a real pain too!

Struggling to link it on my slablet but it's worth looking for :)

Sent from my ZT ICS using Tapatalk HD

Maybe...but who would you rather listen to, Feynman or Gell-Mann? Have all Feynman's stuff, including his "Lectures," but not in one place as you've done here. Thank you!

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I've made several edits to this list since posting it on here that includes fixes to a couple of now broken links, as well as the addition of a couple of new ones; if anyone knows how I can edit the original post to replace it with the latest version, please do let me know!

If you're on FB, you can see the latest version in the form of a FB note here.

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Everyone could learn something off this man even if it wasn't physics! A genius through and through. 

Thank you for putting all of these in one place!

Guy

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Absolutely fantastic!  I've been looking for something like this for a while and here is a real treasure trove, thank you!

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Great stuff. Thanks for posting it! The first I heard of Richard Feynman was watching "The Fantastic Mr Feynman" which must have been the one shown on BBC2 that you mention. I thought he was really interesting and it has been going round in my head since to get the book "Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman" (it's always out on loan at the local library when I check - will have to reserve it!). Lots of links here for these stormy nights. :smiley:  Thanks.

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I read The Character Of Physical Law a long time ago but it is still on my bookshelf waiting to be re-read. Definitely one of the great popular science books.

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Great post - thanks for taking the time to assemble and write up the list.

Another useful source (with a fair amount of overlap) is the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System which provides abstracts of some 300 works by Feynman or about him and/or his research. Quite a lot of the articles, dating back to 1939, are available as downloads.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-basic_connect?qsearch=Richard+Feynman&version=1

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Brings back memories; the Feynman lectures on Physics were the first advanced physics books I bought, on the recommendation of our lecturers, at University. I sold them on when I graduated but have since caught up with them on-line.

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