Errata for The Feynman Lectures on Physics

These lists of errors can be used to correct the New Millennium Edition and earlier editions; they are provided here primarily for the convenience of individuals who prefer to make corrections to their older edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, rather than purchase a new corrected edition. 

 


Old Errata

Lists of errata and errata-related correspondence from 1964 thru 1976 collected by Richard Feynman. The errata dated before 1965 were (mostly) corrected in the original manuscript. The errata dated in the 1970's were incorporated into the FLP Commemorative Issue Errata and corrected in the First Printing of the Definitive Edition. Posted by permission of the Feynman estate, these errata and correspondence are mostly of historical interest.

FLP Old Errata (pdf, 2.35M)

 


Errata Corrected in the Definitive Edition

 

(How to tell which printing of the FLP Definitive Edition you have)

 

Commemorative Issue

Lists of errata for the Commemorative Issue of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1989) and earlier editions. All of the (approximately 200)  errors in these lists were corrected in the new Definitive Edition (2005).

    FLP Commemorative Issue Vol. I Errata (pdf, 126K)

    FLP Commemorative Issue Vol. II Errata (pdf, 168K)

    FLP Commemorative Issue Vol. III Errata (pdf, 309K)

 

Definitive Edition 3rd printing

Lists of errata for the 3rd printing of the Definitive Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2005) and earlier printings and editions. All of the (approximately 80) errors in these lists were corrected in the 4th printing of the Definitive Edition (2006).

    FLP Definitive Edition 3rd printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 93K)

    FLP Definitive Edition 3rd printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 122K)

    FLP Definitive Edition 3rd printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 216K)

 


Errata Corrected in the New Millennium Edition

 

Definitive Edition final printing

Lists of errata for the final printing of the Definitive Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2010) and earlier editions. All of the (approximately 885)  errors in these lists were corrected in the 1st printing of the New Millennium Edition (2011).

    FLP Definitive Edition final printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 656K)

    FLP Definitive Edition final printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 696K)

    FLP Definitive Edition final printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 384K)

 

New Millennium Edition 1st (hardback) printing

Lists of errata for the 1st printing of the New Millennium Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2011) and earlier editions. All of the errors in these lists were corrected in the 2nd hardback printing (and in the 1st paperback printing) of the New Millennium Edition (2011).

    FLP New Millennium Edition 1st printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 155k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 1st printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 98k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 1st printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 96k)

 

New Millennium Edition 2nd (hardback) printing

Lists of errata for the 2nd printing of the New Millennium Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2011) and earlier editions. All of the errors in these lists were corrected in the 3rd hardback printing (and will be corrected in the 2nd paperback printing) of the New Millennium Edition (2011).

    FLP New Millennium Edition 2nd printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 86k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 2nd printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 147k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 2nd printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 109k)

 

New Millennium Edition 3rd (hardback) printing

Lists of errata for the 3rd printing of the New Millennium Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2011) and earlier editions. All of the errors in these lists were corrected in the 4th hardback printing of the New Millennium Edition (2011).

    FLP New Millennium Edition 3rd printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 117k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 3rd printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 102k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 3rd printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 80k)

 

New Millennium Edition 4th (hardback) printing

Lists of errata for the 4th printing of the New Millennium Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2011) and earlier editions. All of the errors in these lists were corrected in the 4th paperback printing and will be corrected in the 5th hardback printing of the New Millennium Edition (2011).

    FLP New Millennium Edition 4th printing Vol. I Errata (pdf, 117k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 4th printing Vol. II Errata (pdf, 76k)

    FLP New Millennium Edition 4th printing Vol. III Errata (pdf, 79k)

 

Typos introduced in the LaTeX conversion

In the course of encoding FLP into LaTeX - a process that required several man-years - some typographical errors were inadvertently introduced in the new manuscript. We expected this to happen, and tried our best to find and correct all such errors before the books went to print, but unfortunately several escaped our attention and made it into the first printing of the New Millennium edition. The following spreadsheet lists all typos that have been found in the New Millennium Edition (2011) to date. The typos listed in black include all those corrected in the 4th hardback printing; those listed in red are new and will be corrected in future printings.

    FLP_New_Millennium_Edition_Typos (xls)

 


Newly Reported Errata

 

Lists of  errata for the New Millennium Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (2011) and earlier editions. Corrections in these lists that are approved by Caltech will be used to correct future printings of the The Lectures.

    FLP New Millennium Edition Newly Reported Vol. I Errata (pdf)

    FLP New Millennium Edition Newly Reported Vol. II Errata (pdf)

    FLP New Millennium Edition Newly Reported Vol. III Errata (pdf)

 

Contributors of Errata for The Feynman Lectures on Physics ...

Since the publication of the Definitive Edition in September 2005, many people have written to us about errors they noticed in The Feynman Lectures on Physics. All reported errors validated by Caltech are submitted to the publisher for correction.

 ... Commemorative Edition

    Michael A. Gottlieb

    Michael Hartl

    Kip Thorne

 

... Definitive Edition

    Douglas Baldwin

    Lucas G. Bittar

    Nate Bode

    Dries Bossers

    Paul Dear

    Arjen Dijksman

    Rémy Duperray

    J.B.C. Engelen

    Andreas Forsblom

    Lincoln Frost

    John Fuqua

    Michael D. Godfrey

    Andrew Goetz

    Michael A. Gottlieb

    Jose Harris

    Steven T. Hatton

    Henning Heinze

    Alain Hénault

    Daniel Holland

    Phil Hystad

    Sirdna Jacods

    Inbo Kim

    Sungho Kim

    Cosimo Laddomada

    Ralph Leighton

    Jonathan Leloux

    Everett Lipman

    Ilkka Mäkinen

    Josh Mattes

    Mark McLaughlin

    Frank Mechelinck

    Steve Murphy

    Lev B. Okun

    Rudolf Pfeiffer

    Rajesh Prasad

    Patrick Purcell

    Donald Rintala

    Wyn Ross

    Fernando Scarlassara

    Mark Schiller

    Manfred Söfftge

    Keshav Srinivasan

    Mark Smith

    Lowell Thelin

    Kip Thorne

    Doug Tygar

    Markus Ungersböck

    Victor van der Hoeven

    Mark van Schagen

    Juergen Winkler

    Sean Woodward

    Geoffrey Wright

 

... New Millennium Edition

 

    David G Anderson

    Douglas Baldwin

    Jean-Sébastien Boisvert

    Vanya Davydychev

    John Denker

    Larry Denenberg

    Alex Dickson

    Olaf Dietrich

    Robert Douglas

    Torben Falkenberg

    Bob Galesloot

    Petra Gao

    Michael A. Gottlieb

    Steven T. Hatton

    Xuesong Hu

    Will Ivy

    Gift Jesubalan

    Ralph Leighton

    Philippe Lemoine

    Alan Lu

    Daniel Månsson

    Takumi Ogawa

    Alex Opremcak

    Peter Päppinghaus

    Sahak Petrosyan

    Rudolf Pfeiffer

    Nicolas Posunko

    Stefano Quattrini

    John Runnels

    Nevada Sánchez

    Matthew Sands

    Alexey Sarychev

    Manfred Smolik

    Blake Stacey

    Stamatis Strikos

    Danu Thung

    Onur Umucalilar

    Aaron Zimmerman

 

Find an error?

We invite you to contact us with contributions of errata, including:

  • errors in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vols I-III (not documented in our lists)

  • errors in Feynman's Tips on Physics

  • errors in our lists of errata

Contributed errata will be validated and used to update our lists periodically.

 


In his preface to The Definitive Edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Professor Kip Thorne writes:

"The errata corrected in this edition come from three sources: about 80 per cent are from Michael Gottlieb; most of the rest are from a long list by an anonymous reader, submitted to Feynman in the early 1970s via the publisher; and the remainder are from scattered short lists provided to Feynman or us by various readers. 

The corrected errata are mainly of three types: (i) typographical errors in the prose; (ii) roughly 150 typographical and mathematical errors in equations, tables, and figures—sign errors, incorrect numbers (e.g., a 5 that should be a 4), and missing subscripts, summation signs, parentheses and terms in equations; (iii) roughly 50 incorrect cross references to chapters, tables, and figures.  These kinds of errors, though not terribly serious to a mature physicist, can be frustrating and confusing to students, the audience Feynman was trying to reach. 

It is remarkable that the errata included only two inadvertent errors in physics: Volume I, page 45-4 now says “When a rubber band is stretched its temperature rises,” not “falls” as claimed in previous editions; and Volume II, page 5-9 now says “…no static distribution of charges inside a closed grounded conductor  can produce any [electric] fields outside”  (the word grounded was omitted in previous editions).  This second error was pointed out to Feynman by a number of readers, including Beulah Elizabeth Cox, a student at The College of William and Mary, who had relied on Feynman’s erroneous passage in an exam.  To Ms. Cox, Feynman wrote in 1975,[1]  “Your instructor was right not to give you any points, for your answer was wrong, as he demonstrated using Gauss’s law.  You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities.  You also read the book correctly and understood it.  I made a mistake, so the book is wrong.  I probably was thinking of a grounded conducting sphere, or else of the fact that moving the charges around in different places inside does not affect things on the outside.  I am not sure how I did it, but I goofed.  And you goofed, too, for believing me.”

Feynman was uncomfortably aware of this error, and of others.  In correspondence with the publisher in 1975, he refers to “errors of physics in Volumes II and III that are more than just typographical.” I do not know the other errors.  Finding them is a challenge for future readers! To this end, Michael Gottlieb is creating a web site, www.feynmanlectures.info,  on which all errata corrected in this Edition will be listed, along with any new errata found by future readers."

 

Kip S. Thorne

The Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics

California Institute of Technology


[1] Pages 288-289 of Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track, The Letters of Richard P. Feynman, ed. Michelle Feynman (Basic Books, New York, 2005).

 

Copyright © 2000-2013 Michael A. Gottlieb. All rights reserved.