Friday, May 11, 2012

Richard Feynman: birthday

Richard Feynman was born on May 11th, 1918. If you have never watched his 1964 Messenger Lectures at Cornell, you should fix it. Here's the first one (one hour):

You may watch all these lectures via Bill Gates' Project Tuva: Microsoft Internet Explorer is needed.

These seven lectures are also available via YouTube and they will be available until Bill Gates tells Google's guys that Feynman should only be watched via Silverlight and not Flash. ;-)

High schools in Czechia

Yesterday, I was giving a 90-minute string talk (twice) to high school kids at the rather good high school where my uncle used to study and where my grandfather used to teach. I was invited by my classmate from the kindergarten, basic school, and high school, if I avoid the term "secret childhood love". ;-) Kind of fun but I think that it's clear that even this "real gymnasium" that would be highly math-and-physics oriented has been losing this focus. The interests and knowledge of the kids betrayed some of these trends even though the students were fun.

Some of their equipment, co-funded by the EU, looked pretty impressive. I don't think that physics students at Harvard would ever learn things in similar computer-laden classrooms, for example. ;-)


  1. That's funny ... some of your posts had me googling Feynman this weekend and I ended up watching his Auckland lectures on QED -- as well as a humorous one about his Tuva boondagle ;)

  2. ... Then this lecture leads me to google Brahe and I learn that his historic collaboration with Kepler took place in Bohemia of all places!

  3. Right, Rsala, at that time, Bohemia was able to attract brains etc. - although a part of this management was done by ethnic Germans.

    A sculpture of Brahe and Kepler near the Prague Castle.

    They had lots of tabloid stories here while alive. Brahe may have been murdered and Kepler is actually a plausible suspect.

  4. In addition the the prosthetic nose(s) which probably did leach heavy metals, Wikipedia mentions an interest in alchemy. Meeting his death at 54 back in those days may not have required any additional intervention.

    Wikipedia also associates Kepler with astrology, and I know that Newton devoted quite a bit of study to both alchemy and bible codes. The extent to which these great pioneers of modern science really straddled the modern and midievel world is often overlooked.

  5. What? I refuse to install that odious microsoft plugin. Keep the web free and with open standards and microsoft-free.

  6. It's interesting that Feynman didn't mention the discrepancies from Newtonian dynamics that Zwicky had reported for galactic motions. I wonder if he knew about them.