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The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Online

  1. Sep 13, 2013 #1
    Have you ever wished there was a high-quality up-to-date version of The Feynman Lectures on Physics available online? One that could be read with a browser so you could study FLP on your smartphone, tablet, notebook or desktop computer, whenever you felt like it? For free? Well, now there is!

    A few words about the free HTML edition of FLP (New Millennium Edition)

    It was an idea conceived many years ago, when through Feynman Lectures Website correspondence I became aware of the many eager young minds who could benefit from reading FLP, who want to read it, but for economic or other reasons have no access to it, while at the same time I was becoming aware of the growing popularity of horrid scanned copies of old editions of FLP circulating on file-sharing and torrent websites. A free high-quality online edition was my proposed solution to both problems. All concerned agreed on the potential pedagogical benefits, but also had to be convinced that book sales would not be harmed. The conversion from LaTeX to HTML was expensive: we raised considerable funds, but ran out before finishing Volumes II and III, so we are only posting Volume I initially. (I am working on finishing Volumes II and III myself, as time permits, and will start posting chapters in the not-too-distant future, if all goes as planned.)

    When you read our HTML edition you will notice a floating menu in the top right corner with Twitter, Facebook, and email buttons (to tell your friends about it!), navigation buttons ('last chapter,' 'table of contents', and 'next chapter'), a "contact us" button (that sends email to me), and a "Buy" button that links to a page of advertising for our books and ebooks, with links to retailers' web pages. To support our effort in producing and maintaining the HTML edition, and to help us keep it free, I would appreciate it very much if you would take some time to explore the retailer's pages through the links on our "Buy" page.

    Enough said!

    You can access the free HTML edition of FLP either by going to the home page of www.feynmanlectures.info and clicking on "Read," or you can go directly to it at either of two servers:




    (So what's the difference between the servers? I maintain the site at feynmanlectures.info, so changes are reflected there immediately. On the other hand, feynmanlectures.caltech.edu is generally faster and more responsive. The entire edition is mirrored from feynmanlectures.info to feynmanlectures.caltech.edu every day, so the latter is current within 24 hours.)

    - hope you enjoy the new edition! If you like it, please tell your friends.

    Best regards,

    Mike Gottlieb
    Editor, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, New Millennium Edition
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  3. Sep 14, 2013 #2


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    Feynman Lectures Millennium Edition eBook?

    A while back there was a PF thread in which Mike Gottlieb said:

    Kip Thorne's preface to the New Millennium Edition (the web version) also refers to ebook editions:

    I have the original edition of FLP in paperback, but for the new edition I would much rather have an ebook. However, I have not been able to find ebook editions available anywhere; the only place I can even find one listed is on ebooks.com, and that says "not available in your country" (the US; I assume it's geolocating my IP address to figure that out). Does anyone know if these ebooks are available, and if so, where?
  4. Sep 14, 2013 #3


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    An html5 version of Vol 1 is presently available for free from http://feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/. Apparently the other volumes will appear in the future, but I have no idea when. The "buy" link on their page does not list any e-book versions of the lectures, so I would assume that this html version is the only one.
  5. Sep 14, 2013 #4


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    Yes, I'm reading it. :smile: But it would be nice to have an electronic version that I can take with me to places where I don't have an internet connection.
  6. Oct 24, 2013 #5
    Volumes II and III of the desktop editions can be found at:


    They are in "secure PDF" format, which likely means DRM protection.
  7. Oct 24, 2013 #6


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  8. Nov 24, 2013 #7
    The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. III online, PDF editions released

    Since the release of the free online edition of FLP Vol. I in September many people have written to ask whether we will publish the other two volumes of FLP online. Many have also asked whether we intend to publish PDF editions of FLP that can be read offline. In fact we originally planned to publish all three volumes online when our PDF editions became available, so we could use the release of the online edition to promote sales of the PDFs, which help support our activities. However, that plan didn't materialize for two reasons: (1) the people hired to do the LaTeX->HTML conversion only completed Vol. I, and (2) our publisher had some technical problems that delayed the publication of our PDF editions.

    Today I am writing to inform you that I have been working on the conversion of FLP Vols. II and III into HTML, and I finished Volume III yesterday, so I have just published it. Please check it out at The Feynman Lectures Website or at the Feynman Lectures Mirror at Caltech. You may notice some new behavior in the floating menu's navigational controls, which now function as follows when the floating menu appears over a Volume's Table of Contents: the next/last buttons cycle through the tables of contents of the three volumes, and the "up" button takes you to the home page of the edition. (When the floating menu appears over a chapter, the navigational controls function as before: "next/last" cycle through the chapters of the volume and "up" takes you to the table of contents.)

    I also wish to inform you that our PDF editions have (finally!) appeared for sale online; you can now find them listed by our other publications, with links to retailers, on The Feynman Lectures Website Buy page. Please note that while sales of the printed books benefit Caltech and Basic Books, only sales of electronic editions benefit 'The eFLP Group' (myself and Rudolf Pfeiffer), creators of the New Millennium Edition's LaTeX manuscript, who bring you the free online edition of FLP. So, if you want to help support our efforts, please buy the PDFs!

    Finally, I want to give you a "heads up" to check out the Books & Arts section in the upcoming December 5th edition of Nature (International weekly journal of science), where there will be a very nice two-page spread about The Feynman Lectures on Physics written by Rob Phillips (Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology at Caltech).

    I hope you enjoy FLP Vol. III. It is my personal favorite of the three volumes! [Regarding Volume II: 10 (out of 52) chapters remain to be converted to HTML. I'm working on it as time permits, and am not sure how long it will take to finish -- hopefully not too long.]

    Best regards,
    Mike Gottlieb
    Editor, The Feynman Lectures on Physics New Millennium Edition

    P.S. Caveat Reader: In converting a book as long and complex as FLP from one format to another, inadvertent errors are inevitably introduced. Moreover, you are most likely reading the online edition on a platform I don't have (since I only have three: an iPad, a PC and a Mac) so you may see things I don't. If you see anything that looks wrong in the online edition -- suspicious-looking text or equations, broken links, or other errata -- we would greatly appreciate it if you would push the "contact us" button on the floating menu, and inform us of the problem. (For this free-to-read online edition we could not afford to hire proofreaders. So, you get to be the proofreaders ;->! Thanks.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  9. Dec 20, 2013 #8
    Hello, all.

    I have just posted FLP Volume II at The Feynman Lectures Website and at it's speedy Caltech mirror. This more or less completes the online edition of the book, though there are still some improvements to be made that I will be working on as time allows. For example: in Volume II you will notice under the title of many chapters (linked) recommendations for review of chapters or sections in Volumes I or II, references to other books and papers, and helpful reminders such as, "In this chapter c=1." Though this kind of supplementary information was never present in Volume I, it is present in (the printed and PDF editions of) Volume III but is currently missing from the HTML edition, and I intend to add it. I also plan to improve the tables, and the typography of the text and mathematics in Volume I, and to improve figure and table placements throughout all volumes.

    In addition to posting Volume II, I have made some systemic style changes. Previously the pages had margins 70 pixels wide on each side. I have reduced that to 10 pixels (max) on the left, and 65 on the right to make room for the floating menu, which is slightly narrower and now also includes a "style changer," implemented mostly for the sake of iOS users who wrote to inform us that our text was un-readable on their devices: too small. The default font sizes are the same as before (12 pt body text), but now you have a choice: you can scale the size of all fonts up by 125% or 150%, and when you do so the left margin becomes narrower and the text is no-longer justified, which saves screen space. You're style preference is remembered between pages and between sessions, so you should only have to choose once on each device you use to read FLP. (There was another problem too on tablets: our pages were sometimes not opening zoomed to fit the device width: now they should.)

    I would also like to inform you that Dr. Rudi Pfeiffer and I have (finally!) completed the manuscript for our edition of "Exercises for The Feynman Lectures on Physics," which was started in 2008. It's 306 8.5"x11" pages include approximately 1000 exercises covering the main sequence material in all three volumes of FLP, with 28 pages of answers/solutions in the back. According to our Executive Editor at Basic Books, the exercise book will be available in paperback online and in stores in the summer of 2014. We will also offer a PDF edition in our "Desktop" format (the same as the printed book, but with margins all on the right). My next project will be to produce a "Tablet" edition of the new exercise book to go with our recently released Tablet Edition of FLP.

    In closing, I would like to thank all those people who have written to us. You're appreciation and interest in FLP is very rewarding and encouraging. I wish to particularly thank those who informed us of _problems_ with our web interface, or errors in the text or equations of the online edition of FLP; you're input helps make FLP more accessible, and more comprehensible. So, please keep those emails coming!

    Best regards,
    Mike Gottlieb
    Editor, The Feynman Lectures on Physics New Millennium Edition
  10. Dec 26, 2013 #9
    Have all the diagrams been redrawn? They seem to depict the same things as the drawings in the original books, but they look different to me. The line width is thinner, the words seem written differently, etc.

    Also, for us nostalgic Feynman Lectures fans, would you consider changing the font to something that more closely resembles the original font of the books? It would be nice to at least have the look and feel of the original books.
  11. Dec 27, 2013 #10
    All figures were redrawn or replotted (with greater precision than the original hand-drawn figures, and in scalable graphics format) for the New Millennium Edition's LaTeX manuscript, which was also the basis for our online edition. So, the figures in the online edition are identical to those in the current and future printed editions of FLP.

    The font family used in the online edition (Georgia) was chosen for ease of reading on computer screens, and we have received a lot of compliments on it. If you prefer an electronic edition that closely resembles the books, you might want to consider purchasing a copy of the (PDF) Desktop Edition, whose pages are identical to the books' in every respect, except that the wide margins are all on the right-hand side (which is optimal for single-page viewing).
  12. Dec 27, 2013 #11
    So none of the figures in this edition were drawn by Feynman, Leighton, or Sands?

    As far as fonts go, do you happen to know what font the original books were written in, or what computer font most closely resembles it? For now I can just adjust the font in my browser.
  13. Dec 27, 2013 #12
    The story of the figures in FLP-NM (some of which can be read in Kip Thorne's Preface to the New Millennium Edition):

    We created the LaTeX manuscript working from a (paper) copy of the 3rd printing of the Definitive Edition, which was scanned and OCR'ed and then converted to LaTeX. We could not use scans of the old figures (which would look terrible) - we needed new ones, but we didn't know where to get them, so initially the text and equations were converted without any figures at all. Then we met Henning Heinz, a translator under contract to (German) publisher Oldenbourg, who was making a German translation of the Definitive Edition at that time. Like us, Henning was using LaTeX, and needed all the line-drawn figures in FLP to be redrawn; he had already hired and trained a small team of people in India who made vector graphic tracings of all the figures for him, ... but he was struggling a bit with setting the many (thousands) of equations in FLP. So we made a trade: our LaTeX equations for his Postscript figures. These were useful to us as a starting point, but we ended up redrawing most of them ourselves (because we are very picky), wherever possible using software to make the drawings and plots as accurate and precise as possible.

    So (to answer your question): First of all, none of the figures in FLP were drafted by Feynman, though the bulk of them were based on pictures of his handmade drawings on the blackboard. All the figures in Volume I were drafted by Robert Leighton, and all those in Vols. II and III were drafted by Matthew Sands. In the New Millennium Edition, we are not doing anything particularly innovative with the figures, beyond correcting errors in them, using software to draw/plot them more precisely, and formatting them as required by the needs of our publisher to create printed and electronic editions of FLP now and in the future. So, they are still Sands' and Leighton's figures (which are mostly based on Feynman's drawings) - just updated slightly.

    We don't know exactly what fonts were used in the original edition, which was typeset 50+ years ago by another publisher. In FLP-NM's printed and PDF editions we use several fonts (as per the older print editions). Times New Roman is the family used for body text.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
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