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Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition | [The Great Courses]

Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition

"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Wolfson at the outset of these 24 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.
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Publisher's Summary

"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.

Disclaimer: 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.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Rachel E. Watkins Cleburne, Texas 03-19-14
    Rachel E. Watkins Cleburne, Texas 03-19-14 Member Since 2012

    Rachel E. Watkins

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For the dabbler in scientific theory"

    This is an excellent, easily understood, while not condescending, introduction to physics, associated history, and scientific method and thought. The expanded and explained story of Newton and his apple gave me a very profound appreciation of what was really going on with that story, and a much better understanding of the history of scientific thought. I have found myself quoting sections when relevant discussions come up and Professor Wolfson's analogies are quite clear. Articles which once left me rather confused trying to wrap my brain around concepts I can now appreciate due to this grounding in understanding. This is my third 'Great Courses' purchase and I have not yet been disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kiwi Gee New Zealand 02-17-14
    Kiwi Gee New Zealand 02-17-14 Member Since 2013

    Kiwi-Gee

    ratings
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    "Compulsory reading for future fantasy addicts"
    Where does Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a documentary - and although it's a bit out of date it provides good background to understanding nuances in very fast travel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It provides good background to understanding nuances in futuristic fantasies around very fast travel, very large spaces, and very big objects.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    This is a documentary.


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

    Coming back to the Future


    Any additional comments?

    nup !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Calgary, AB, Canada 01-14-14
    Amy Calgary, AB, Canada 01-14-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Best intro to Relativity I've ever heard"
    Would you listen to Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition again? Why?

    Maybe, it got its point across very well so I'm likely to move on to harder books.


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

    Wolfson mentions that basically all of special relativity is derived based on the theory that the speed of light is always the same and everything else follows from that. It's really a staggering thought that a single premise as such would affect how time works.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom San Jose, CA, United States 12-22-13
    Tom San Jose, CA, United States 12-22-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Delightful lecture, I disagree with the disclaimer"
    What did you like best about Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition? What did you like least?

    Good lecturer, it's almost as if he knows he's being recorded for replay in audio only format.


    What does Professor Richard Wolfson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    probably not. I can't watch a movie while walking.


    Any additional comments?

    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).

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scott mitcham, Australia 12-17-13
    scott mitcham, Australia 12-17-13 Member Since 2010
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    "very hard to follow in audio form"
    What would have made Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition better?

    wasn't for me


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    sycamore row


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    referring to pictures and diagrams that you cannot see


    What character would you cut from Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition?

    none


    Any additional comments?

    might be for some but I found it hard to follow

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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