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12 Essential Scientific Concepts Lecture

12 Essential Scientific Concepts

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Publisher's Summary

Science is such a vast arena of knowledge that people looking for a better grasp of its secrets often wonder where to begin. The answer: with the essentials. Now, finally satisfy your desire for scientific inquiry in a way that makes this enormous field accessible, understandable, and undeniably captivating.

Professor Viskontas boils down the scientific world into 12 key concepts every educated person should know. Devoting two lectures to each concept to give you more time to engage with it, her 24-lecture series is an engaging and enlightening introduction to everything from the behavior of subatomic particles to the latest theories about the Big Bang.

Throughout, you'll get accessible looks at key building blocks of scientific knowledge, including brain plasticity, fluid mechanics, electromagnetism, genetics, quantum theory, emergence, evolution, thermodynamics, the Big Bang, and the nature of matter. Each concept is presented in a clear, concise way that will inform and delight you, and that will give you the opportunity to probe the invisible life of living cells, visit the universe seconds after its birth, and much more.

Concepts that may have eluded you in school, that you may not be familiar with, or that you simply never appreciated for their intricate beauty are now brought to vivid life in a way that sticks. Welcome to the world of science - reduced to its powerful essence.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (374 )
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Story
4.2 (326 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tanglebones New York, NY 03-24-14
    Tanglebones New York, NY 03-24-14 Listener Since 2010

    Rob

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent overview of major science concepts"
    Would you listen to 12 Essential Scientific Concepts again? Why?

    Yes


    Have you listened to any of Professor Indre Viskontas’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes - I'm a fan of her podcast, Inquiring Minds


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last two lectures on emergence


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Indre Viskontas provides a deft overview of 12 major science concepts, ranging from the macro - the creation of the universe, principles of physics and black holes to the micro - the human neuron and quantum mechanics. She communicates her excitement for the subject matter throughout, while acknowledging the limitations of current science and potential for future advancement.

    The final two lectures, on the new science of emergence, were particularly fascinating to me, as it was a completely new topic to me, unlike some of the others.
    The only flaws in the recording were a few missed edit points in later lectures - one line repeated twice.

    31 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A reader of fact and fiction 07-04-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
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    89
    7
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    "Not what the title promises"

    The first 10 chapters seem to be more about physiology than anything else. This may be better suited to people with interests to workings of human body and cognitive systems, but this is not what the title promises.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    katherine 06-14-16
    katherine 06-14-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A little too advanced, but worth the effort."

    While I found the content presented a little too advanced in the short time it was covered (unless you've got a decent scientific foundation), I was able to take away enough information to advance my understanding of big concepts from biology to physics.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Olsen Lehi, UT 09-16-15
    Andy Olsen Lehi, UT 09-16-15 Member Since 2014

    cynichic

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating"

    Professor Indre Viskontas did a better job explaining the hard aspects of scientific thought than any other I have listened to. Great job Professor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damien Teney 09-12-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Misleading title, centered on life sciences"
    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    The title of the book sounds very broad and general but is misleading: most chapters are centered, or come back in some way to life sciences. The author has a background in neurosciences and this shows up throughout to book. For example, even the chapters on electricity or magnetism, while they do contain the physical explanations, eventually come back to the role of these phenomena in biological processes. The author even (ab)uses of analogies with biological systems, e.g. explaining the flow of electrons through a wire by comparing it to blood flowing through a vessel. If you have an "engineer" type of mind or not really into interested in life sciences, you can find better similar books.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The author/narrator also sounds overly (constantly) excited, which I personally find more tiresome to listen to than a neutral tone.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Chicago 09-09-14
    Mark Chicago 09-09-14 Member Since 2014

    I'm an science geek, artist, and all-around IT administrator. I find all things interesting and love to learn.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Interesting. You almost need a pencil an paper."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it’s fairly comprehensive and easily intellectually digestible. The ideas flow together fairly well.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hyrum Orem, UT, United States 07-26-14
    Hyrum Orem, UT, United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Mother Nature is not a driving force in Science"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Nope, lots of better science books out there.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Author kept referring to Mother Nature doing, thinking, or deciding things. While this may have been common in the 1800's I find it disconcerting in a modern science book.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Professor Indre Viskontas?

    Nope, poor grasp of science puts the ghost in the machine instead of explaining how things actually work


    Was 12 Essential Scientific Concepts worth the listening time?

    not really.


    Any additional comments?

    Kept getting the impression that author was going to try to sell something. Script and delivery were closer to a late-night sales person than someone trying to teach science.

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anton 07-19-14
    Anton 07-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Author's knowledge of physics may not be perfect"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Indre Viskontas?

    Yes, I'd try another book from The Great Courses (And I've tried "Your deceiptive mind..." - absolutely brilliant), not sure if I'd try another book from this author


    Has 12 Essential Scientific Concepts turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Professor Indre Viskontas?

    No


    Was 12 Essential Scientific Concepts worth the listening time?

    So-so


    Any additional comments?

    I have a major in physics and I'm not sure if the author understands well the physical concepts and problems she is trying to explain. Different people may have different views, but I tend to disagree with several statements she made during the lecture. This makes me think she may not truly understand other scientific concepts too and so I'd not recommend this book and this author to my friends and family.

    17 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joao G. D. Santos Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Brazil 08-31-16
    Joao G. D. Santos Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Brazil 08-31-16 Member Since 2015

    JG Diniz

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
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    "12 Essential Concepts"
    What did you love best about 12 Essential Scientific Concepts?

    The broad spectrum of science knowledge a person should, at least, understand.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It does not apply.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Genetics and Evolution.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    It does not apply.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sal 08-26-16
    sal 08-26-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    10
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    Story
    "Awesome!!! can't wait to listen to more of these."

    Awesome!!! can't wait to listen to more of these. six more words that are remaining

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Trevor Davis
    8/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Necessarily a struggle"

    I will listen again but next time not while driving a car. Needs more concentration!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    4/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great listen"

    all round great to listen to and well arranged. Most sections can be covered in one pass and each chapter makes it easy to re-listen to sections.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BB
    UK
    6/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very dull to listen to."
    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Some interesting thoughts but I gave up as so dull to listen to


    Any additional comments?

    Not one for a long car journey

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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