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Once again you have really pulled through. I heard that you are the best and I can see for myself you are.

Transcribe lectures: Catch That Idea!


Here is the story of a decision to record and transcribe lectures, and how it made history, brought to you by Tigerfish Transcribing.

Famous Transcripts in History:  The Feynman Lectures

Physicist Matthew Sands, one of the authors of the Lectures, has told the story of the book’s genesis in a memoir, and in his own oral history in the American Institute of Physics archive, (another audio-to-text transcript well worth reading).

He says the idea was to teach some of the thrilling new physics of the time – atomic physics and quantum theory – to undergraduates at the California Institute of Technology, instead of making them wait until graduate school.

Sands had the idea to ask Feynman to give the first-year lectures – an unusual and inspired choice, given that Feynman was in high demand at the graduate level at Caltech.  But Sands knew they could make use of Feynman’s brilliance as a speaker, and his sense of humor, to make the ‘modern’ physics accessible.

In his oral history*, Sands tells this story:  “Now, listen, Richard,”  I said, “You’ve spent 40 years of your life trying to understand nature, and now here’s your chance to distill it down and make it available…This is your chance to make a big impact.”  And he seemed to catch on to that idea and was interested.  He got interested.  The next day he came back to me and said, “Yeah, well, maybe we could do this.”

 But how could they do it?  Stay tuned.

Ellen Park

*Interview of Matthew Sands by Finn Aaserud on May 4 and 5, 1987,

Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,

College Park, MD USA,




Famous Transcripts