"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Wolfson at the outset of these twenty-four lectures on what may be the most important subjects in the universe: relativity and quantum physics. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic ideas behind them are, in fact, simple and comprehensible by anyone. These dynamic and illuminating lectures begin with a brief overview of theories of physical reality starting with Aristotle and culminating in Newtonian or "classical" physics. After that, you'll follow along as Professor Wolfson outlines the logic that led to Einstein's profound theory of special relativity and the simple yet far-reaching insight on which it rests. With that insight in mind, you'll move on to consider Einstein's theory of general relativity and its interpretation of gravitation in terms of the curvature of space and time.
From there, you'll embark on a dazzling exploration of how inquiry into matter at the atomic and subatomic scales led to quandaries that are resolved-or at least clarified-by quantum mechanics, a vision of physical reality so profound and so at odds with our experience that it nearly defies language.
By bringing relativity and quantum mechanics into the same picture, you'll chart the development of fascinating hypotheses about the origin, development, and possible futures of the entire universe, as well as the possibility that physics can produce a "theory of everything" to account for all aspects of the physical world. But the goal throughout these lectures remains the same: to present the key ideas of modern physics in a way that makes them clear to the interested layperson.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
Overall more of a review of quantum physics than Einstein's theories. Also, lectures are before discovery of Higgs boson. Explains standard model superficially. Superficial explanation of time dilation.
I like apocalypse, zombies, and orcs stories. Also new ideas in fiction.
Very well done. Not overly complicated and very good for causing your mind to expand.
grad student in Electrical Engineering
I loved the journey through modern physics, it was very inspirational to hear about the understanding of the world around us revealed by modern physics and some philosophical implications. Very short lectures, easy to follow if you're familiar with the topic but very profound.
I took quite a few physics courses a few years ago, and this was a wonderful refresher on the theories I studied. The lecturer does a great job of presenting complex theories in an easy to understand format.
Very easy to grasp. Wish they included the bibliography and the pictures he was talking about. This is not very mathematical, so you may need to look for other sources for those...
Good lecturer, it's almost as if he knows he's being recorded for replay in audio only format.
I presume a "book" would have been a transcription of these lectures. This is a good lecture, I don't imagine the book version, a transcription, would be better. Transcripts are never better than a good lecture just as movies aren't as good as the original book.
probably not. I can't watch a movie while walking.
I completely disagree with this disclaimer in the product description: "Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase". I don't expect the books he says are in the bibliography but I do expect to not have to stop and write down the book title and instead refer to the bibliography. To not even include a bibliography saves nobody anything but causes intense dissatisfaction on the part of me, the consumer. I don't want to listen to an entire lecture just to get the name of the book he mentioned somewhere in the last 50 minutes of walking. The bibliography is essential. If I wanted only the audio content I'd go look for the torrent (why should I not look there for my next book? the service is equivalent).
Like: James Rollins, authors that are similar
Very easy listen for such a complex topic. Enlightening, interesting, and strange
most memorable topic for me was gravitational time deviation & the effects of velocity on time as well.
The concepts are clearly explained and, via interesting analogies, create a good understanding of them.
Ive listened to it twice now and looking for another from this professor, great teacher.
If this topic interests you, this is the book you want
Engineer with a strange attraction to philosophy.
It covers the basic principles but misses information from the last 20 years or so.
The series of 24 lectures can be roughly divided in two parts. first motion and the laws and theories that explain how the macroscopic universe behaves are covered. Then it goes on to explain quantum physics and the behavior and composition of matter in its sub atomic levels.
The pace of the lecturer is quite fast, but easy to follow. The main concern is the frequent mentioning of the visual aids and appended bibliography which cannot be found anywhere easily to download as an adjunct to the audio.
"Well balanced level of detail"
An excellent overview, delivered well. For those with the interest this course offers alot in an accessible way.
"enthralling and brilliantly narrated"
loved it from start to finish, probably helps to have a little physics knowledge prior
"Enjoyable and enlightening but not perfect"
Does a good job of explaining the key concepts of quantum mechanics and relativity. Refers to diagrams a few times that are unavailable on audible so 4 stars instead of 5. Says for none scientists but might go a bit too fast for those with no physics background whatsoever.
Prof. Wolfson has delivered an astounding series of lectures that have had me in a world of excitement and awe. Simply breathtaking.
"Gets a little repetitive but stick with it..."
Prof Wolfson hammers home the key points, overdoing it sometimes, but with great story telling skill.
Take the time and understand each lecture and you have no choice but to get it..
Use bookmark and go back if needed and use the Internet for reference
"A great introduction for non scientists"
Anyone interested in understanding a bit more about the fascinating recent history of Physics should listen to this. A great (and understandable) buildup of Special Relativity and interesting introduction to General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
Wolfson is a great character to listen to. His lecturing is both thoughtful and enthusiastic - he draws you into the subject. His background in philosophy no doubt helps his ability to explain these complex topics.
"A wonderfully described introduction to these major theories"
Richard Wolfson brilliantly introduces you to major breakthroughs in physics! I can't recommend this more for people looking to deepen their understanding of the universe and all things small (very) and large (very).
"Very well explained"
everything about it was fascinating
a master-class in physics.Some very difficult concepts explained from many different points of view.
"Great material: A few blips, but ends strongly"
Very much enjoyed this course. A slight reliance on visual aids not supplied as part of the course, but nothing a bit of Google-foo couldn't handle. One or two uncorrected errors (not bad for 24 hours' worth of detailed spoken word) and one lecture needs to be re-recorded as clearly the lecturer's mic slipped (he can still be heard, but audio quality suffers). These are minor quibbles: the content is fascinating, presentation is strong.
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