Institute Archives
California Institute of Technology


FEYNMAN, RICHARD PHILLIPS (1918-1988)

Theoretical Physicist

Caltech Professor of Physics, 1951-1988; Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1965.

Physicist Richard Feynman won his scientific renown through the development of quantum electrodynamics, or QED, a theory describing the interaction of particles and atoms in radiation fields. As part of this work he invented what came to be known as "Feynman Diagrams," visual representations of space-time particle interactions. For this work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics, together with J. Schwinger and S. I. Tomonaga, in 1965. Later in his life he became a prominent public figure through his association with the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the publication of two best-selling books of personal recollections. Richard Feynman served as Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech from 1951 until his death.

Papers, 1933-1988. Feynman's correspondence, course and lecture notes, talks, speeches, publications, manuscripts, working notes and calculations and commentary on the work of others are all included in this extensive collection.

Videos. The following Feynman videos are available for loan to Caltech-affiliated persons and to other bona fide scholars or researchers for educational purposes only. There is a nonrefundable loan fee of $35.00 per tape. For complete information contact the Institute Archives.

"Infinitesimal Machinery." February, 1983. A talk given at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory described as a sequel to Feynman's 1960 lecture, "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom." The historic 1/64-inch-on-a-side motor made by William McLellan is passed around the audience. 90 min.

"Irreversible Process from Reversible Laws." April 30, 1987. A guest lecture for Physics 2, Track C at Caltech. Feynman addresses a fundamental and paradoxical problem in physics: natural phenomena are characterized by irreversibility (for example, frying an egg), but physical laws appear to explain only reversible processes. About 50 min.

Memorial Services for Richard Feynman. March 30, 1988. At Caltech. Features speakers, a slide show, and a tape of Feynman drumming. Two similar services were taped. About 75 minutes each.

Physics 2, Track B. February, 1980. Caltech. A set of four 50-mintue lectures for sophomore physics on quantum electrodynamics, given over two weeks.

Space Shuttle News Conference. June 10, 1986. Caltech. Feynman answers questions from the press. About 60 min.

"Strangeness Minus Three." 1964. Transferred from the original film made by the BBC for Caltech. Chronicles the search for the omega-minus particle. Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, and Yuval Ne'eman talk about scientific ideas and methods. 54 min.

"Fun to Imagine." 1983. Six short programs, unedited, from a series made by the BBC but never aired in the U.S. Feynman talks about various physical phenomena. About 65 min.

"Last Journey of a Genius." January, 1989. BBC-NOVA. Mainly about Feynman and Ralph Leighton's attempts to visit Tuva; also includes highlights from Feynman's career, especially the space shuttle "Challenger" investigation. 54 min.

"No Ordinary Genius." November 26, 1992. Christopher Sykes Productions for BBC-Horizon cseries. Covers Feynman's whole career. Uses material from earlier BBC programs plus new material. Two 50 min. segments.

"No Ordinary Physicist." Circa 1986. BBC-Antenna series. Includes interview with Abdus Salaam, Feynman diagrams, space suttle "Challenger" news conference material. About 8 min.

"The Pleasure of Finding Things Out." November 1981. BBC-Horizon series. Biographical material is interspersed with Feynman talking about his life and science. About 50 min.

Feynman at UC Irvine. April 16, 1987. Feynman is lecturing to students on the subject of quantum chromodynamics. The audio quality is not good in some places. 1 hour, 20 min.

Robb Lectures (Mautner Lectures). July-August, 1979. University of Aukland. Eight lectures on the theory of quantum electrodynamics. A similar series was given at UCLA in May 1983 under the title Alix G. Mautner Memorial Lectures. These lectures were eventually printed as QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Princeton, 1985).

Hughes Lectures. 1983 and undated. Feynman lectured at Hughes Aircraft for close to twenty years. The videotapes contain untitled lectures, the majority without dates. Timings vary, averaging around 21 min. each.


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