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Original Audio recordings of Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman

  1. Nov 24, 2009 #1
    I've been in a very history of physics mood lately and have been rediscovering Feynman. I was watching the Nova special from after his death and SJMF was typed out from audiotapes of Feynman telling the stories. Does anyone know if there is anyway to get a hand on the original version as read by Feynman himself?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2009 #2

    Chi Meson

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    They are SOOOOOOOOOOOO not available. Ralph Leighton, the other guy with the mustache never released the originals except for excerpts. Feynman's family, that is his son and daughter, are very protective of his original material. They just went through great lengths to clear the internet of original videos from his freshman lectures.

    One of the main things I noticed (i saw a few of his freshman lectures, and a portion of his QED lectures in NZ before they got sued off of Youtube) is that his actual lectures are no where near as good as the "cleaned up" printed version. That stands to reason, since with editing you can make plenty of changes retroactively. Feynman did his thing "off the cuff" with very few notes.

    What I saw was slightly disappointing since most of the time he was NOT as magical and amazing as he is in those excerpted bits on "Last Journey of a Genius."

    If you are looking for a better glimpse into Feynman's head, and where he is at his best, read through the collection of letters that was released by his daughter a year or two ago.

    And then there are the BBC interviews from the 60s (from which the "monkey with the two sticks together" excerpt is from). I'd like to see more of that one, but I don't know anymore about it.
  4. Nov 25, 2009 #3
    Thanks Chi, I'm actually going through that book of letters now, pretty good stuff. Indeed I remember a few years ago finding some clips of the videos of the original Freshman lectures somewhere but now they seem to be gone. Any idea why his family is holding this material hostage? Are they looking make some money off it by releasing it commercially? They audio is already out there why not the video as well, I would pay if I had to.

    I can understand them wanting not to realize the more personal material and keep some of their dad for themselves, as it were. But it's not as if the material has much personal significance to them. I think they would be fantastic to watch.

    Frankly, I think if Feynman was alive he wouldn't be so happy with how he's been commercialized. He definitely seemed the type that would have seen the internet as a great free resource to share with others his love and knowledge of physics.
  5. Nov 25, 2009 #4


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    Bill Gates has made videos of the Messenger Series of physics lectures available on-line...

  6. Nov 25, 2009 #5


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    He took a "Cicero", then!

    Cicero tended to revise his speeches extensively before publishing them.

    When trying to defend the obviously guilty Milo in the murder case of Clodius, Cicero mumbled and stammered basically ensuring Milo's conviction. It may be that Cicero did this deliberately, since Pompey had pressured him into taking on this case, whereas Cicero already had made a staunch line AGAINST Milo. Thus, Cicero was seen as a weakling, however he had reacted.

    Anyhow, Milo went into exile to Massilia (Marseilles).

    As Cicero revised his speech and sent it to Milo, he got the curt reply:
    "I am SO glad you didn't hold that speech, Marcus, for had you done so, I wouldn't have got to know the delicious oysters here in Massilia".

    Ok, this WAS irrelevant, sorry!
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