Physics, Feynman and copyright

Dear readers,

I took my blog offline 10 days ago because I got an email from Mr. Gottlieb, which I copied below. Mr. Gottlieb and Mr. Pfeiffer did mankind a favor by publishing Feynman’s seminal Lectures on Physics online. While doing so, however, they reclaim copyright on what is basically a very standard textbook which was published almost 60 years ago.

I think I’ve done my utmost to properly attribute material. The e-links go straight to the online edition, and the name and site of this blog ( say it all. I also think I’ve done my best to put Mr. Gottlieb and Mr. Pfeiffer in the picture in the ‘About‘ section of this blog, where I actually recommend you do not read this blog but just buy the Lectures (or use their site) and grind through them yourself.

Fortunately, I am one of the lucky people to have an original 1963 print copy and I should, therefore, probably change all references and refer to this original edition. I am sure Richard Feynman would have approved of that.

In fact, I was thinking of fundamentally reviewing all of my blog posts anyway as part of the insights I gained while searching for a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics, which I published on Phil Gibb’s site as well as on

Indeed, I now think Feynman was very close to a full and complete realist interpretation of quantum mechanics. In fact, when I re-read his lectures on electromagnetic mass and his classical explanations of the spin and angular momentum of an electron, it makes me think he privately must have had such realist interpretation. But then he probably couldn’t say so as a mainstream academic—and especially not as one who was eager to get a Nobel Prize.

He got one in 1965, together with Schwinger and Tomonaga. He, therefore, had huge stakes in keeping the ‘mystery’ alive and ensuring the survival of gauge and quantum field theories and all of the associated nonsense.

Jean Louis Van Belle

20 February 2020 (20/02/2020)

Post scriptum (dated 23 February 2020): We’ll do our best to make Mr. Gottlieb happy. 🙂 I was planning to review the whole site anyway to add some references here and there to my more recent models of the photon, the electron and the proton. Plus some other corrections so as to incorporate some more recent insights. In the process, I’ll check on the links. I will probably refer to the original 1963 print edition instead of the online edition. Too bad Mr. Gottlieb doesn’t understand it’s people like me who direct (rather than divert) traffic to it.

Post scriptum (dated 17 June 2020): Yesterday, I received an email from WordPress/Automattic confirming some of the illustrations and images will be taken down. It is mainly for older posts. While it will result in some mutilation of the posts and, more importantly, while I find this completely ridiculous, I will let it happen. If this is what Mr. Gottlieb does for a living or for self-entertainment, we should let him do this. I am getting too old to be bothered by such nonsense.

—–Original Message—–
From: Michael A. Gottlieb <>
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2020 5:01 PM
To: Support <>
Cc: Jean Louis Van Belle <>; Adam Cochran <>
Subject: Re: [-] DMCA submission from


I sent you two DMCA notices because when I sent the first one (detailed below) I did not understand the kinds of links to the material you would accept in your notice. So I sent links to Mr. Van Belle’s posts (below) in which the copyrighted material is infringed. However, after sending that I realized I could be (and should be) more specific, so I sent a second DMCA notice (which you’ve also acknowledged) with links to specific copyrighted material that is being violated, namely, figures and images of equations copied from the online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics on which I share copyright with Caltech and Rudolf Pfeiffer.

Mr. Van Belle would like to make “Fair Use” of the figures in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, and Caltech, myself and Rudolf Pfeiffer welcome him to do so. The problem is, that he isn’t doing that, because Fair Use requires proper attribution, which Mr. Van Belle is not giving our material.

Two years ago we contacted Mr. Van Belle about another one of his blogs in which our copyrighted material is similarly infringed. [He did not mention at that time the fact he had another (WordPress) blog (the one I am complaining about now) in which he was similarly infringing.]  In our letter Caltech’s Office of the General Counsel provides Mr. Van Belle with instructions on how to attribute our copyrighted material when it is re-published in his blogs for “Fair Use”. I have copied that letter below.

I would like to retract this DMCA notice (but not the other one I sent, concerning images), because, as I wrote above, this one may be too broad. We are specifically concerned about images (figures and images of equations) that Mr. Van Belle has copied from and is using in his blog without proper attribution. This is addressed in the second DMCA notice I sent you, and which you’ve acknowledged under separate cover.

(We are also concerned about copyrighted text Mr. Van Belle has copied where it is not properly attributed – specifically, the text of exercises in our book, Exercises for The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which is the subject of his WordPress blog – but we prefer to deal with that separately, as it violates a different copyright.)

This email is copied to Caltech’s Office of the General Counsel and to Mr. Van Belle.

Best regards,

Michael Gottlieb


9 thoughts on “Physics, Feynman and copyright

  1. Hello JL,

    I find sad and at the same time funny Mr. Gottlieb’s attitude towards the blog. As you say I often find myself visiting the online lectures’ website through the links of your blog… Well… Mr. Gottlieb has to live with his ideas his whole life so let’s not give him any additional burdens …

    On another subject, I am currently halfway through your “Emperor has no clothes” (enjoying it a lot) and at the same time working on a research assignment on superconductivity. The deal is that the currently accepted mechanism for Cooper pairs apparition (and thus superconductivity) is usually handled with a “virtual exchange of phonons between electrons” and forgotten about. I find this a very nice example of the mumbo-jumbo quantum mechanics where the equations work out very well but their physical interpretation is rather obscure.

    The best / most realistic Cooper pair interpretation I’ve found is given by V. F. Weisskopf [1], but I’ve also found that there is a fellow “rebel” scientist, Alan M. Kaddin, that is not fully convinced about it [2]. Just wanted to say that I am munching through this with the Zitterbewegung interpretation in the back of my mind.

    Tell me if you have any ideas about it (and have the time =) )

    [1] 1981 – V. F. Weisskopf – The formation of cooper pairs and the nature of superconducting currents
    [2] 2005 – Alan M. Kadin – Spatial Structure of the Cooper Pair

  2. Hey Gabriel ! Thank you for your sympathy ! As for the topic you are mentioning (Cooper pairs), you are surely going to the heart of physics there ! Very interesting ! I’ve always wanted to look at the BCS theory for Cooper pairs because, yes, it’s where my ‘oscillator’ model of a particle diverges from the rather easy thinking of it in terms of a superconducting loop. Superconducting loops involve Cooper pairs – and I think the mechanism behind electron pairs in electron orbitals must be the same. That’s very different from analyzing an individual charge in motion – which is what my primitive (but sound, I hope) models are trying to do. In short, kudos to you – I think you’re moving fast and convincingly ! I will probably not be able to follow you ! Keep thinking and doing research that matters – rather than repeating the same old stuff ! I pray you have the stamina to work yourself through the exams so that – unlike me – you can acquire the pedigree it needs to become credible. Looks like you are moving on where I have to abandon ! Brilliant ! Kindest regards – JL

    PS: As for having the time or not, I am working on a piece on (the physical interpretation of) probability amplitudes which I think you will like a lot. I need a few more days to wrap it all up – but it should nicely complement my already existing work on an interpretation of the wavefunction. 🙂

    PS 2: Have a look at that post on the role of the negative charge in a sea of positive charges in the nucleus. I feel that – if you’d manage to understand Cooper pair formation – you’d probably be able to add a lot to the research on nuclear field theories. In other words, you’d probably be able to truly explain why protons stick together in a nucleus in some kind of dynamical model with negative charges as the intermediate ‘glue’ that we need there. 🙂 Keep going !

    1. Hello JL,

      Honestly, thank you for your spirit! I am definitely young and fascinated with physics thus I will try to reach those expectations =). Really thank you, your encouragement words are very beautiful 🙂

      Still, I cannot hear what you are saying about you not being able to follow me or anybody. JL you are incisive, critical, creative, motivated, and actively trying to not get fooled and advance in understanding! I find all of your posts super instructive, and you have been the one to make me grasp the idea (at first I did not truly believe it) that there can be a “not a darn black box” interpretation of QM, which took me a while because I had been busy for a while trying to accept the opposite idea.

      The pedigree thing is a problem, but hey, there are thousands of universities and all it gets is to find a reasonable department with a reasonable fellow physicist that can allow you to join their pedigree party! (I believe you can transform your arXiv papers in a Ph.D. easily).

      Anyways, you can also forget the pedigree and keep your amazing research and posts, but don’t you give up on physics, it needs rebels like you!


      PS: Can’t find the post you mention on the PS 2, ¿would you pass me the link?

      1. Dear Gabriel – I have a few silent and a few vocal fans – but you’re truly the best ! 🙂 The link is Phil Gibbs’ site for spacetime rebels: see footnote 3 (sorry – nothing much now but I effectively got contacted by a PhD student who might work on the math). Despite the obscurity of the site, I got 42 independent downloads in half a day so, yes, I must be doing something right. 🙂 You should enjoy version 2 – being uploaded on right now (also on and ResearchGate now). It’s got twice my usual irony while demolishing myths. 🙂

        PS: I’d rather stay a rebel. If I publish, it’s going to be in a high-brow journal, but they’ve treated me as a crackpot scientist so far. The problem is my draft scientific articles are extremely dense – so I suspect the reviewers don’t even start to understand what I am writing about – apart from the pedigree problem, of course. :-/

        PS 2: Thanks for your email address. I replied directly. You’re a distinguished engineer getting your physics degree. Get a math degree as well – even if you don’t need it to truly understand stuff (you do, clearly). You will be successful where people like Oliver Consa, Alex Burinskii, and so many others weren’t. [Sorry, I should not compare myself to young or old geniuses here.] Mainstream QM is dead. Mainstream academics just haven’t realized it – yet !

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