Best Book for Physics: Feynman Lectures on Physics

Fynman Lectures on Physics

Volume I

Title: Lectures on physics

Volume: Volume 1

Author(s): Feynman, Leyton, Sands.

Publisher: AW

Year: 1964

Language: English

Pages (biblio\tech): 513\513

ID: 14793

Time added: 2009-07-20 03:45:11

Time modified: 2019-12-21 21:23:21

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  • Volume II

    Title: Lectures on physics

    Volume: Volume 2

    Author(s): Feynman, Leyton, Sands.

    Publisher: AW

    Year: 1964

    Language: English

    Pages (biblio\tech): 536\536

    ID: 14795

    Time added: 2009-07-20 03:45:11

    Time modified: 2019-12-21 21:23:21

  • DOWNLOAD NOW: Volume -2
  • Volume III

    Title: Lectures on physics

    Volume: Volume 3

    Author(s): Feynman, Leyton, Sands.

    Publisher: AW

    Year: 1964

    Language: English

    Pages (biblio\tech): 327\327

    ID: 14796

    Time added: 2009-07-20 03:45:11

    Time modified: 2019-12-21 21:23:21

  • DOWNLOAD NOW: Volume -3
  • Introduction

    A great triumph of twentieth-century physics, the theory of quantum mechanics, is now nearly 100 years old, yet we have generally been giving our students their introductory course in physics (for many students, their last) with hardly more than a casual allusion to this central part of our knowledge of the physical world. We should do better by them. These lectures are an attempt to present them with the basic and essential ideas of the quantum mechanics in a way that would, hopefully, be comprehensible.

    The approach you will find here is novel, particularly at the level of a sophomore course, and was considered very much an experiment. After seeing how easily some of the students take to it, however, I believe that the experiment was a success. There is, of course, room for improvement, and it will come with more experience in the classroom. What you will find here is a record of that first experiment.

    In the two-year sequence of the Feynman Lectures on Physics which were given from September 1961 through May 1963 for the introductory physics course at Caltech, the concepts of quantum physics were brought in whenever they were necessary for an understanding of the phenomena being described. In addition, the last twelve lectures of the second year were given over to a more coherent introduction to some of the concepts of quantum mechanics.

    It became clear as the lectures drew to a close, however, that not enough time had been left for the quantum mechanics. As the material was prepared, it was continually discovered that other important and interesting topics could be treated with the elementary tools that had been developed.

    There was also a fear that the too brief treatment of the Schrödinger wave function which had been included in the twelfth lecture would not provide a sufficient bridge to the more conventional treatments of many books the students might hope to read. It was therefore decided to extend the series with seven additional lectures; they were given to the sophomore class in May of 1964. These lectures rounded out and extended somewhat the material developed in the earlier lectures.

    Area Covered

    Volume 1

    Chapter 1.Atoms in Motion

    Chapter 2.Basic Physics

    Chapter 3.The Relation of Physics to Other Sciences

    Chapter 4.Conservation of Energy

    Chapter 5.Time and Distance

    Chapter 6.Probability

    Chapter 7.The Theory of Gravitation

    Chapter 8.Motion

    Chapter 9.Newton’s Laws of Dynamics

    Chapter 10.Conservation of Momentum

    Chapter 11.Vectors

    Chapter 12.Characteristics of Force

    Chapter 13.Work and Potential Energy (A)

    Chapter 14.Work and Potential Energy (conclusion)

    Chapter 15.The Special Theory of Relativity

    Chapter 16.Relativistic Energy and Momentum

    Chapter 17.Space-Time

    Chapter 18.Rotation in Two Dimensions

    Chapter 19.Center of Mass; Moment of Inertia

    Chapter 20.Rotation in space

    Chapter 21.The Harmonic Oscillator

    Chapter 22.Algebra

    Chapter 23.Resonance

    Chapter 24.Transients

    Chapter 25.Linear Systems and Review

    Chapter 26.Optics: The Principle of Least Time

    Chapter 27.Geometrical Optics

    Chapter 28.Electromagnetic Radiation

    Chapter 29.Interference

    Chapter 30.Diffraction

    Chapter 31.The Origin of the Refractive Index

    Chapter 32.Radiation Damping. Light Scattering

    Chapter 33.Polarization

    Chapter 34.Relativistic Effects in Radiation

    Chapter 35.Color Vision

    Chapter 36.Mechanisms of Seeing

    Chapter 37.Quantum Behavior

    Chapter 38.The Relation of Wave and Particle Viewpoints

    Chapter 39.The Kinetic Theory of Gases

    Chapter 40.The Principles of Statistical Mechanics

    Chapter 41.The Brownian Movement

    Chapter 42.Applications of Kinetic Theory

    Chapter 43.Diffusion

    Chapter 44.The Laws of Thermodynamics

    Chapter 45.Illustrations of Thermodynamics

    Chapter 46.Ratchet and pawl

    Chapter 47.Sound. The wave equation

    Chapter 48.Beats

    Chapter 49.Modes

    Chapter 50.Harmonics

    Chapter 51.Waves

    Chapter 52.Symmetry in Physical Laws

    Volume 2

    Chapter 1.Electromagnetism

    Chapter 2.Differential Calculus of Vector Fields

    Chapter 3.Vector Integral Calculus

    Chapter 4.Electrostatics

    Chapter 5.Application of Gauss’ Law

    Chapter 6.The Electric Field in Various Circumstances

    Chapter 7.The Electric Field in Various Circumstances (Continued)

    Chapter 8.Electrostatic Energy

    Chapter 9.Electricity in the Atmosphere

    Chapter 10.Dielectrics

    Chapter 11.Inside Dielectrics

    Chapter 12.Electrostatic Analogs

    Chapter 13.Magnetostatics

    Chapter 14.The Magnetic Field in Various Situations

    Chapter 15.The Vector Potential

    Chapter 16.Induced Currents

    Chapter 17.The Laws of Induction

    Chapter 18.The Maxwell Equations

    Chapter 19.The Principle of Least Action

    Chapter 20.Solutions of Maxwell’s Equations in Free Space

    Chapter 21.Solutions of Maxwell’s Equations with Currents and Charges

    Chapter 22.AC Circuits

    Chapter 23.Cavity Resonators

    Chapter 24.Waveguides

    Chapter 25.Electrodynamics in Relativistic Notation

    Chapter 26.Lorentz Transformations of the Fields

    Chapter 27.Field Energy and Field Momentum

    Chapter 28.Electromagnetic Mass

    Chapter 29.The Motion of Charges in Electric and Magnetic Fields

    Chapter 30.The Internal Geometry of Crystals

    Chapter 31.Tensors

    Chapter 32.Refractive Index of Dense Materials

    Chapter 33.Reflection from Surfaces

    Chapter 34.The Magnetism of Matter

    Chapter 35.Paramagnetism and Magnetic Resonance

    Chapter 36.Ferromagnetism

    Chapter 37.Magnetic Materials

    Chapter 38.Elasticity

    Chapter 39.Elastic Materials

    Chapter 40.The Flow of Dry Water

    Chapter 41.The Flow of Wet Water

    Chapter 42.Curved Space

    Volume 3

    Chapter 1.Quantum Behavior

    Chapter 2.The Relation of Wave and Particle Viewpoints

    Chapter 3.Probability Amplitudes

    Chapter 4.Identical Particles

    Chapter 5.Spin One

    Chapter 6.Spin One-Half

    Chapter 7.The Dependence of Amplitudes on Time

    Chapter 8.The Hamiltonian Matrix

    Chapter 9.The Ammonia Maser

    Chapter 10.Other Two-State Systems

    Chapter 11.More Two-State Systems

    Chapter 12.The Hyperfine Splitting in Hydrogen

    Chapter 13.Propagation in a Crystal Lattice

    Chapter 14.Semiconductors

    Chapter 15.The Independent Particle Approximation

    Chapter 16.The Dependence of Amplitudes on Position

    Chapter 17.Symmetry and Conservation Laws

    Chapter 18.Angular Momentum

    Chapter 19.The Hydrogen Atom and The Periodic Table

    Chapter 20.Operators

    Chapter 21.The Schrödinger Equation in a Classical Context: A Seminar on Superconductivity

    Writer’s desk

    Richard Feynman

    These are the lectures in physics that I gave last year and the year before to the freshman and sophomore classes at Caltech. The lectures are, of course, not verbatim—they have been edited, sometimes extensively and sometimes less so.

    The lectures form only part of the complete course. The whole group of 180 students gathered in a big lecture room twice a week to hear these lectures and then they broke up into small groups of 15 to 20 students in recitation sections under the guidance of a teaching assistant. In addition, there was a laboratory session once a week.

    The special problem we tried to get at with these lectures was to maintain the interest of the very enthusiastic and rather smart students coming out of the high schools and into Caltech. They have heard a lot about how interesting and exciting physics is—the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and other modern ideas.

    By the end of two years of our previous course, many would be very discouraged because there were really very few grand, new, modern ideas presented to them. They were made to study inclined planes, electrostatics, and so forth, and after two years it was quite stultifying. The problem was whether or not we could make a course which would save the more advanced and excited student by maintaining his enthusiasm.

    The lectures here are not in any way meant to be a survey course, but are very serious. I thought to address them to the most intelligent in the class and to make sure, if possible, that even the most intelligent student was unable to completely encompass everything that was in the lectures—by putting in suggestions of applications of the ideas and concepts in various directions outside the main line of attack.

    For this reason, though, I tried very hard to make all the statements as accurate as possible, to point out in every case where the equations and ideas fitted into the body of physics, and how—when they learned more—things would be modified. I also felt that for such students it is important to indicate what it is that they should—if they are sufficiently clever—be able to understand by deduction from what has been said before, and what is being put in as something new.

    When new ideas came in, I would try either to deduce them if they were deducible, or to explain that it was a new idea which hadn’t any basis in terms of things they had already learned and which was not supposed to be provable—but was just added in.

    At the start of these lectures, I assumed that the students knew something when they came out of high school—such things as geometrical optics, simple chemistry ideas, and so on. I also didn’t see that there was any reason to make the lectures in a definite order, in the sense that I would not be allowed to mention something until I was ready to discuss it in detail. There was a great deal of mention of things to come, without complete discussions.

    These more complete discussions would come later when the preparation became more advanced. Examples are the discussions of inductance, and of energy levels, which are at first brought in in a very qualitative way and are later developed more completely.

    At the same time that I was aiming at the more active student, I also wanted to take care of the fellow for whom the extra fireworks and side applications are merely disquieting and who cannot be expected to learn most of the material in the lecture at all. For such students I wanted there to be at least a central core or backbone of material which he could get.

    Even if he didn’t understand everything in a lecture, I hoped he wouldn’t get nervous. I didn’t expect him to understand everything, but only the central and most direct features. It takes, of course, a certain intelligence on his part to see which are the central theorems and central ideas, and which are the more advanced side issues and applications which he may understand only in later years.

    In giving these lectures there was one serious difficulty: in the way the course was given, there wasn’t any feedback from the students to the lecturer to indicate how well the lectures were going over. This is indeed a very serious difficulty, and I don’t know how good the lectures really are. The whole thing was essentially an experiment.

    And if I did it again I wouldn’t do it the same way—I hope I don’t have to do it again! I think, though, that things worked out—so far as the physics is concerned—quite satisfactorily in the first year.

    In the second year I was not so satisfied. In the first part of the course, dealing with electricity and magnetism, I couldn’t think of any really unique or different way of doing it—of any way that would be particularly more exciting than the usual way of presenting it. So I don’t think I did very much in the lectures on electricity and magnetism.

    At the end of the second year I had originally intended to go on, after the electricity and magnetism, by giving some more lectures on the properties of materials, but mainly to take up things like fundamental modes, solutions of the diffusion equation, vibrating systems, orthogonal functions, … developing the first stages of what are usually called “the mathematical methods of physics.” In retrospect, I think that if I were doing it again I would go back to that original idea. But since it was not planned that I would be giving these lectures again, it was suggested that it might be a good idea to try to give an introduction to the quantum mechanics—what you will find in Volume III.

    It is perfectly clear that students who will major in physics can wait until their third year for quantum mechanics. On the other hand, the argument was made that many of the students in our course study physics as a background for their primary interest in other fields.

    And the usual way of dealing with quantum mechanics makes that subject almost unavailable for the great majority of students because they have to take so long to learn it. Yet, in its real applications—especially in its more complex applications, such as in electrical engineering and chemistry—the full machinery of the differential equation approach is not actually used. So I tried to describe the principles of quantum mechanics in a way which wouldn’t require that one first know the mathematics of partial differential equations.

    Even for a physicist I think that is an interesting thing to try to do—to present quantum mechanics in this reverse fashion—for several reasons which may be apparent in the lectures themselves. However, I think that the experiment in the quantum mechanics part was not completely successful—in large part because I really did not have enough time at the end (I should, for instance, have had three or four more lectures in order to deal more completely with such matters as energy bands and the spatial dependence of amplitudes).

    Also, I had never presented the subject this way before, so the lack of feedback was particularly serious. I now believe the quantum mechanics should be given at a later time. Maybe I’ll have a chance to do it again someday. Then I’ll do it right.

    The reason there are no lectures on how to solve problems is because there were recitation sections. Although I did put in three lectures in the first year on how to solve problems, they are not included here. Also there was a lecture on inertial guidance which certainly belongs after the lecture on rotating systems, but which was, unfortunately, omitted. The fifth and sixth lectures are actually due to Matthew Sands, as I was out of town.

    The question, of course, is how well this experiment has succeeded. My own point of view—which, however, does not seem to be shared by most of the people who worked with the students—is pessimistic. I don’t think I did very well by the students.

    When I look at the way the majority of the students handled the problems on the examinations, I think that the system is a failure. Of course, my friends point out to me that there were one or two dozen students who—very surprisingly—understood almost everything in all of the lectures, and who were quite active in working with the material and worrying about the many points in an excited and interested way.

    These people have now, I believe, a first-rate background in physics—and they are, after all, the ones I was trying to get at. But then, “The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.” (Gibbon)

    Still, I didn’t want to leave any student completely behind, as perhaps I did. I think one way we could help the students more would be by putting more hard work into developing a set of problems which would elucidate some of the ideas in the lectures. Problems give a good opportunity to fill out the material of the lectures and make more realistic, more complete, and more settled in the mind the ideas that have been exposed.

    I think, however, that there isn’t any solution to this problem of education other than to realize that the best teaching can be done only when there is a direct individual relationship between a student and a good teacher—a situation in which the student discusses the ideas, thinks about the things, and talks about the things. It’s impossible to learn very much by simply sitting in a lecture, or even by simply doing problems that are assigned.

    But in our modern times we have so many students to teach that we have to try to find some substitute for the ideal. Perhaps my lectures can make some contribution. Perhaps in some small place where there are individual teachers and students, they may get some inspiration or some ideas from the lectures. Perhaps they will have fun thinking them through—or going on to develop some of the ideas further.

    Richard P. Feynman

    June, 1963

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