What Makes Feynman Lectures So Great?

Oct 16, 2020 0 comments
why are feynman lectures so great widely read physics books recommended for beginners

Nobel laureate Richard Feynman has often been called "The Great Explainer" and for reason. His lectures on physics are extremely popular among both students and teachers for they were written in a witty, chatty and informal style that really draws you into the story–the grand narrative of physics–as Feynman develops it.

Those lectures were designed for Caltech during 1961-1963 the goal being to excite and motivate the students there. Since then, the lectures have been read by over 2 million students and reviewed in 2013 by Nature as having "simplicity, beauty and unity".

why are feynman lectures great

According to one reader: "Feynman lectures are best used for solidifying, correcting, and deepening your knowledge in physics. That's because they encompass a very diverse range of topics from classical to quantum mechanics and in a way that's excellent!"

Many know Feynman as the great physicist and as someone who was a master of teaching it. He inspired a whole new generation of physics teachers and science enthusiasts who go about discovering the "wonders of physics" through analogies, diagrams and experiments.

physics demo by richard feynman lecture
Feynman doing a physics demo

According to Bill Gates: "Feynman was the best physics teacher that he unfortunately never had." What made Richard so good at teaching physics? Probably that he believed that great physics did not necessarily have to involve complicated mathematics.

Because, for Feynman, teaching was an art and he could actually play around with it. Even in the lectures, there's some problems, but hardly any rigorous ones; mostly just explanations of natural phenomena in a lucid, elegant way.

Besides being simple and fun to read, Feynman Lectures are also pretty lengthy, which is also another reason why they're so exceedingly great!

The volume 1 containing Newtonian mechanics and thermodynamics is a staggering 560 pages long. The second volume which has a detailed account on electro-magnetism is 592 pages longer and the last of the pack, the quickest one on Quantum Mechanics, is 400 pages.

Basically, if you're a class 11 student, you can begin reading volume 1 straightaway. If you're a class 12 student, the book 2 is recommended for you. By the time you finish reading all the three volumes, you will have learned just as enough as a physics graduate.

No doubt, Feynman has got to be the easiest Nobel Laureate to read in all of history. The 3 books are enjoyable from start to finish and once you've completed, you will start seeing the world from a brand new perspective, through the "magical" lens of physics!


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