Bill Gates Puts Richard Feynman Lectures Online

John Markoff in the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 16 09.44 Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates believes that if he had been able to watch physicist Richard Feynman lecture on physics in 1964 his life might have played out differently.

Mr. Gates, of course, is legendary as a Harvard University dropout who went on to create the world’s most successful software firm. He has told associates that if had watched the lectures earlier in his life he might have become a physicist instead of a software entrepreneur.

However, Mr. Gates, who is also well known for his sharp and varied intellectual interests and his philanthropic commitment to education, said this week that he had purchased the rights to videos of seven lectures that Dr. Feynman gave at Cornell University called “The Character of Physical Law,” in an effort to make them broadly available via the Internet.

Microsoft Research announced on Wednesday that Mr. Gates, who purchased the rights to the videos privately from the Feynman estate, BBC and from Cornell University, in cooperation with Curtis Wong, a Microsoft researcher, has created a Web site that is intended to enhance the videos by annotating them with related digital content.

More here. [Go to the website and watch the brilliant lectures!]