Derek de Solla Price Lectures

Recordings of the full “Neolithic to Now” lectures by Derek de Solla Price, Yale 1976.

The recordings below were made in 1976 during a series of lectures at Yale. Derek introduced the lectures as, “the world’s first canned university lectures”. In other words, this series of lectures, aimed at Yale freshmen, was meant to be recorded and shared as the world’s first “virtual” university course.

The 23 lectures examine the growth of humanity and it’s technology since neolithic man. Although the subject is daunting, the lectures themselves are both witty and easy to follow.

Derek believed that technology could be used to optimize the way information was shared. He used audio recording technology to take the experience of a Yale lecture and to share it with the world, literally allowing anyone to take a course from a Yale professor.

Derek believed if the best and brightest minds shared their knowledge this way it could revolutionize the way we learn. One can only imagine that he would be pretty happy to know that the full series of lectures are available to stream below… Although one would assume he would have hoped to get paid at least a speaking fee.

  1. Lecture #1
  2. Lecture #2
  3. Lecture #3
  4. Lecture #4
  5. Lecture #5
  6. Lecture #6
  7. Lecture #7
  8. Lecture #8
  9. Lecture #9
  10. Lecture #10
  11. Lecture #11
  12. Lecture #12
  13. Lecture #13
  14. Lecture #14
  15. Lecture #15
  16. Lecture #16
  17. Lecture #17
  18. Lecture #18
  19. Lecture #19
  20. Lecture #20
  21. Lecture #21
  22. Lecture #22
  23. Lecture #23

6 thoughts on “Derek de Solla Price Lectures”

  1. To download all the lectures from within the bash shell:

    export url=”“; for i in {1..23}; do wget $(printf “$url%d.mp3” $i); done

  2. Very happy to come across this site. I was a friend of Derek’s and now have gotten around to developing an essay on a concept of his: “packed down science.” So far as I can tell he published only a brief note on this, in 1981; but I recall that he spoke to me of it enthusiastically and I suspect that had there been time he would have liked to see it developed further.

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