BLG Leadership Insights

Richard Feynman’s Problem Solving Skill

We’ve talked about Richard Feynman here before. We concluded that his unique problem solving skills should be employed by people in all fields.

That was last year.

Since then Bill Gates has bought the rights to Feynman’s 1964 Cornell University lecture series, The Character of Physical Law, and posted them online in an interactive media player.

The videos are transcribed, embedded with commentary, packed with additional resources, and invite users to take chronological notes while they are watching. And, yes. They are completely free. We owe Gates a big thank-you for his generous gift.

The lectures, roughly 7 hours total, are targeted to first year college students and are easy to follow even if you lack a background in math or physics. Feynman’s intellectual energy and natural curiosity make the videos entertaining and fascinating. Before your know it, they are over.

Gates bought the lectures from Cornell University, the BBC, and the Feynman estate for an undisclosed sum. He has said that if he had the chance to watch the lectures as a student he would have studied physics–not computers. It’s easy to see why. Feynman’s personality, humor, and mathematical excitement are hard to ignore.

The complete Feynman lectures reinforce our old point: unique problem perception isn’t simply for Nobel Prize winning physicists–it’s a skill that can and should be applied in any industry, pursuit, or agenda. The lectures, as a whole, also make another point. Big, exciting, curious thinking is needed in all subject areas. It creates problem solving energy and a big-picture view that welcomes creativity and skepticism.

Here is a short clip from the lecture series below: