Was Richard Feynman really an “unlikely leader?”


Richard Feynman, working with the Rogers Commission on the Challenger Shuttle Disaster, demonstrating effects of cold on the vital O-rings, with a glass of ice-water, a C-clamp and an O-ring. Open University film screen capture

Richard Feynman, working with the Rogers Commission on the Challenger Shuttle Disaster, demonstrating effects of cold on the vital O-rings, with a glass of ice-water, a C-clamp and an O-ring. Open University film screen capture

Interesting series of films from The Open University, on “unlikely leaders.” The film on Richard Feynman is a good introduction to his work in a few minutes.

Who the hell is “The Open University?” Their website offers a lot of free courses, but no clue about who finances the bunch, or even where it’s physically headquartered. I gather it’s a British group, but find little substantial information beyond that. Website copyright 2014; it’s got a modest track record.

Nice piece on Feynman. But is it a stealth piece to sucker people in? Feynman would be cautious about jumping on the Open University bandwagon. Or is Open University straight up? Enjoy Feynman.

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2 Responses to Was Richard Feynman really an “unlikely leader?”

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Thank you, MrK!

    Like

  2. MrK says:

    To enlighten you: “is Open University straight up?” The 2014 copyright is for the new design, it does not reflect the institution (and in British culture, the OU IS an institution!)

    The Open University is a major British University that pioneered the idea of distance learning. Set up by British government statute in 1969 it developed the idea that university education could be open to working people, those who for whatever reason had not been through the usual school-high school- university path by offering degree level courses in a broad range of subjects.

    It is non-traditional in that most of its students do not attend lectures in physical buildings but receive study materials and assignments by post or on-line. In the pre-internet era, its lectures aired on the BBC after regular scheduled programmes had finished for the evening, sometimes going out in the middle of the night (and in the early 70s, VCRs were not that common!). The Feynman clip is from one of those lectures. They were able to create materials with top-notch lecturers. Back in the day, if you did chemistry, they sent you a chemistry set (I know this from working with someone who did their first degree with the OU).

    I have to add that they have always had an emphasis on links with business and industry because of their student demographic: mostly older students returning to study or studying while holding down a job.

    They are physically located in Milton Keynes and do research at the postgraduate and post-doctoral levels. They have an internationally recognised planetary science department.

    They are partly financed by the UK government and student fees.

    Disclaimer: I know this because I did a degree with them and I grew up with the BBC OU lectures occasionally on the tv on Sunday morning.

    Like

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