Watch Dr. Richard Feynman making physics fun in Project Tuva, a Silverlight-based, rich media experience

ProjectTuva_thumb Explore the natural laws of physics as explained by the brilliant and dynamic Dr. Richard Feynman in his classic "Messenger Series" of lectures from 1964. Project Tuva is the Silverlight-based, interactive video experience, enhancing the lectures with fully searchable transcripts with captions and time-synchronized contextual links to external content.

Dr. Feynman is remembered for his many contributions to the advancement of science - but he is also famous for his humanity. He had an infectious sense of humor, loved the arts and was a devoted prankster, amateur painter, bongo player, juggler and safecracker. Dubbed the “Great Explainer” his signature speaking style got people hooked on physics.

While still a doctoral student at Princeton, he joined the Manhattan Project. In 1950 he moved to the California Institute of Technology where he won the Nobel Prize in physics for his role in the development of the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED). At Caltech his lectures were popular both because of his engaging style and because he made it a personal goal to explain concepts simply so that even a “freshman” could grasp the concepts. In 1986, he served on the Presidential Rogers Commission which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster famously demonstrating the weakness of “O-rings” using a glass of ice water during the hearings.

Bill Gates, longtime admirer of Feynman’s ability to “make science fun” and approachable, secured the rights to the footage so that more people could see the lectures. In his video introduction to Project Tuva, Gates relates his experiences watching the lectures for the first time while vacationing with a friend.

The project was named “Tuva” after the central Asian republic that Feynman was trying to reach when he died of cancer in 1988.

Curtis Wong, Principle Researcher in Microsoft Research, defined the vision for ‘Tuva’ and worked with Bill Gates to drive the creative development and detailed functionality of the Tuva site. Colleagues Frank Martinez and Michael Aday lead the technical program management and business relationship with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Stimulant who was engaged to bring the concept to life using Silverlight and Microsoft Expression tools.

Stimulant, whose expertise with interactive video spans nearly two decades, enhanced the video by providing fully searchable transcripts with captions and time-synchronized contextual links to external content so viewers can learn more on a given topic, while taking notes, reading expert commentary and viewing integrated timelines.

WWTelescope_thumbMicrosoft Research further enhanced the content with interactive visualizations, bibliographic references and integration with the WorldWide Telescope, a project also co-created by Curtis Wong.

If you like Project Tuva, and are seeking more ‘ideas worth spreading’ you might like to view more content from world renowned speakers at the TED conference using the Silverlight 3 player from thirteen23. The player runs directly from your desktop giving you the convenience of rapid access to the latest talks without a web browser.

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