"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...
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
The lectures are engaging and the professor is interesting and very well-organized. The course is lacking in some depth, mainly because of the huge range of topics covered, but also because he shies away from math a little too much. I think it's a good quick introduction to many of the great ideas of modern physics from a non-mathematical angle.
The main thing to be aware of before buying this is that the course is not designed for listening. While this is true of all of the teaching company courses on audible, some work better than others. This one depends heavily on visual material which is only viewable in the pdf. So this is not ideal for commuting.
The topic is interesting, and many theories were discussed that I have puzzled over. I understand them a little better than I did before. However, the professor had a penchant for explaining the easiest ideas over and over and over, but brushing lightly over most of the more difficult ones. I was also disappointed that this lecture was put together over 15 years ago. I didn't realize that until towards the end of the book, the presenter says that the Higgs Boson has not yet been discovered.
I would rather it be more up to date. Also I would prefer it be presented in a little more relaxed manner. The voice was tense, rushed, and repetitive, leaving no space for reflection. He should slow down a bit, take a breath, and not repeat the same idea so many times.
This is one of the best of the GC series. Fascinating content that delicately walked the line between engaging non-science beginners and still provoking inquiry for more studied listeners. Truly an experience that joined with only a handful of other works resulting in a change in perception and the way I view life. I find I reference it continually and have gone back to listen again - the only audiobook on which I can ever lay that claim!
"Pitched at just the right level, very engaging."
I've always rather regretted dropping physics at the age that I did, but assumed that my lack of advanced mathematics was probably a barrier to investigating the subject further by myself. I'm ecstatically happy to be proven wrong.
I couldn't really be happier with this course. It seems to be pitched towards an undergraduate non-scientist level, which is to say that it assumes that you don't know any physics already, but *does* assume that you have a few brain cells to rub together. So far so perfect.
The content is no doubt simplified and focused on the conceptual (Advanced physics without maths? How could it not be?), but Professor Wolfson is superb in how he takes the listener through the evolution of various theories in engaging logical steps.
NOTE: There are references throughout the lecture series to occasional diagrams and course materials, which are *not* available for Audible customers to download form the Great Courses website. A quick google search however will usually provide you with similar diagrams if you just throw in the relative topic keywords.
"Enjoyable and informative, but..."
An enjoyable telling of the story of how the physical world works, which should prompt anyone to look for more, not least to look further into the mathematics underpinning it all. The lecturer speaks enthusiastically and quickly and sometimes loses track (entertaining in itself) but topics are well paced and points are repeated and reinforced so you don't have to continually backtrack if your attention strays. Unfortunately this offering is purely audio, with no apparent links to important supplementary visual aids (even the most basic diagrams and equations) which would be available if the audiobook was purchased from the original producer.
This is simply wrong and unfair never mind the (usual) claim that they arent necessary given at the beginning. I'm writing this having studied these topics at undergraduate level - I feel that others are missing out. But as I said in the end it should encourage anyone to look for more elsewhere, which can only be a good sign.
Who needs religion when you have such a wonderful scientific real world out there, described so clearly and enthusiastically in these lectures. A real pleasure from beginning to end.
"Look forward to listening again"
I think listening again will help me understand further this complex subject!
Perhaps Stephen Hawkings brief history of time
"The title says it all. Emphasis on non-scientists"
Yes. The lectures are well structured and progressive in approach.
None that I have come across as yet.
It felt a little slow in the first few lectures but as we got further into the subject, as a reader, I found that the repetition of the concepts kept me grounded and I never felt lost. Excellent examples and I found his diction and style to be crystal clear.
"Very clear, logical and easy to digest"
These lectures explain the relatively straight forward principals from which flow some very complex and bewildering physics. This is done in a clear and easy to follow way where much of the time the listener is lead to draw the conclusion that the lecturer is about to posit just in advance of it being stated.
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.
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