Microsoft Research and Bill Gates Bring Historic Physics Lectures to Web: Microsoft Research, in collaboration with Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, today launched Project Tuva, a web site that makes an acclaimed lecture series by the iconic physicist Richard Feynman freely available to the general public for the first time. The lectures, which Feynman originally delivered at Cornell University in 1964, have been hugely influential for many people, including Gates. Gates privately purchased the rights to the seven lectures in the series, called “The Character of Physical Law,” to make them widely available to the public for free with the hope that they will help get kids excited about physics and science.
Feynman was one of the most popular scientists of the 20th century, equally regarded for his scientific insights as well as his ability to convey his enthusiasm for science through his lectures and writings. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 and was also known for his quirky sense of humor and eccentric and wide-ranging interests.
“No one was more adept at making science fun and interesting than Richard Feynman,” said Gates. “More than 20 years after first seeing them, these are still some of the best science lectures I’ve heard. Feynman worked hard during his life to popularize science, so I’m sure he’d be thrilled that now anyone, anywhere in the world, can just click a button and experience his lectures.”
Curtis Wong, a principal researcher with Microsoft Research, enhanced the experience of viewing the lectures by integrating the historic video with a Microsoft Silverlight-based video player that allows viewers to search the lectures for references to particular subjects, take notes that are synchronized to the video, and click on hyperlinks to related Web content, among other customized operations.
Microsoft Research: Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences.