Would you like to know how the universe works? Scientists have been asking that question for a long time and have found that many of the answers can be found in the study of particle physics, the field that focuses on those impossibly tiny particles with unbelievably strange names - the hadrons and leptons, baryons and mesons, muons and gluons - so mystifying to the rest of us.
And now, in a fascinating and accessible series of 24 lectures, you can take the mystery out of the remarkable field that in only 100 years has unlocked the secrets of the basic forces of nature.
Professor Pollock will make you familiar with the fundamental particles that make up all matter, from the tiniest microbe to the sun and stars. And you'll also learn the "rules of the game" - the forces that drive those particles and the ways in which they interact - that underlie the workings of the universe.
The lectures have been designed to be enriching for everyone, regardless of scientific background or mathematical ability. Virtually all you'll need as you enter this fascinating world are your curiosity, common sense, and, as Professor Pollock notes, "an open mind for the occasional quantum weirdness." As you move through the lectures, you'll also gain a knowledge of how those particles fit into perhaps the greatest scientific theory of all time: the Standard Model of particle physics; a grasp of key terms like "gauge symmetry," "quantum chromodynamics," and "unified quantum field Theory;" and an appreciation of how particle physics fits in with other branches of physics - including cosmology and quantum mechanics - to create our overall understanding of nature.
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.
©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses
This is a wonderful lesson to the time it was recorded. At this point, eight or more years have passed and you need to listen to more recent works to get the updates since Professor Pollock narrated this. It is still a fantastic way to get from the beginning of particle physics to the time he gave this lecture. I found it extremely accessible and will likely listen through it again. Professor Pollock has inspired me to recent works such as "The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter" by Katherine Freese. I can't comment on that yet.
Sorry, this isn't me. I liked the whole program.
I could sense his passion. This is what Professor Pollock does. I'd rather learn from a practitioner than a bystander. He uses "we" often. You can feel it, or at least I could. I would love to have been in his lectures and chatted afterwards.
No, it gave me information I was interested in. I am not a Particle Physics student. I am a lifelong learner with a bent towards science. I really enjoyed his presentation of a fairly complex subject. If you are reading this, you likely are looking for what I was, so listen to the lecture.
Understand that he will talk about what's to come several years past. Plan for it and it is fine. Don't be frustrated that he talks about something coming in 2007. Just get an updated text to follow this. It is still a great history to the time it was recorded and well worth the investment in time (certainly more valuable than whatever you pay for the lectures).
I would recommend this to anybody who is interested in fundamental parts of our universe. Very clear presentation, easy to follow, and seems at least to me to cover the subject very well.
I have no interest to dwell into the mathematics of particle physics, and the aim of the series of lectures is indeed to deliver as comprehensive overview of particle physics to a listener just like me.
Very clear presentation, and I would like to listen to more material of this subject produced with such clarity and attention to delivery. Excellent!
This is for the bare beginner. if you know anything about science or particle physics and even the most basic sense the first six to seven half hour lectures are basically a waste of your time.
not sure I'm going to go for history next. I would recommend anything by deGrasse Tyson or another physicist
the author had many long pauses. I put the replay on 2 times and even three times speed. his analogies I felt were repetitive and not particularly good. I got the fact that atoms can be visualized as billiard balls. You don't need to explain billiard balls to me. a lot of it just seems very self explanatory, not even the science part but just the tedious explanations of what is common sense.
I think he should assume that the readers are fairly intelligent and don't need really basic things explained to them. If you use an analogy then let it ride don't also explain the analogy. He needs to trust the intelligence of his audience.
Letting the rest of the world go by
The choice is yours. You can let the popular media and the Mystics continue to tell you that particles physics is woo and mysticism or you can listen to this highly accessible lecture and realize what particle physics is all about and learn why neutrinos are so important, what c-p violation means, and what makes up the universe at the most fundamental level.
The lecturer doesn't tell you anything without first telling you the context and how we know what we know. I still don't understand what a photon really is or what exactly is meant by spin, but that's not the fault of the lecture. It's more that their real meaning is tied up with esoteric mathematics and the lecture stays away from the math.
From what I could pick up, this is from 2007. For example, the instructor talks about the search for the Higgs boson and what he believes will be found. This is a light brushing of particle physics. If you've already done some study of this, it will be a repeat of what you already know. You'll also recognize some mistakes because his knowledge is somewhat old. If you've never read anything on particle physics and are curious, this is an ok introduction even though some of what you'll hear is either wrong or not up to date.
The narrator is very forgiving, and understands the listener is there to learn. Walk in with a cursory understanding of "things are made of other things", and walk out tossing around terms you now understand like "Fermion" and "Neutrino".
I feel nothing really could have been done to improve the listening, aside from including PDF's with things you'll only understand after, to give the listener a sense of advancement.
His tone, as mentioned, is forgiving. He keeps the atmosphere light hearted and energetic, and you never feel like you're being spoken down to.
This book has no narrative, so the question more apt would be "did it make me contemplate how I exist?"
Yes. Knowing that even smaller than the atom, even smaller than the proton, exists a level of matter so abstract that it is unseeable directly is a world changer. You will contemplate many thing you thought you knew.
If you need your understanding of particle physics to become greater than the base level you'll get in popular media like Cosmos and Bill Nye (which are fantastic places to start), this will explain in familiar terms to everyone where to guide your education on the next step.
This audiobook is very enjoyable yet informative. To be honest it's a book I'll probably have to listen to again just to try and understand and remember everything (not that it isn't presented in a good way). It uses little to no mathematics. Exactly what I suspected from it and more.
I grabbed this audiobook without knowing what to expect. I've now listen to it for the 3rd time.
It is without a doubt one of the best audiobooks I've listen to. The narrator is an excellent storyteller, the concepts presented are precise, indepth and easy for a non-physicist (like myself) to grasp.
On a side note, one thing that really helped me remember all the concepts presented here was a visual table of the fundamental particles.
Interesting, captivating, and informative. Thank you.
I liked the fact it was audible and easy to turn on my laptop and plug in my ear-buds. I just listened and became informed about a subject of which I am interested.
Steven Pollock seems to be very knowledgeable about the subject, "not to be sarcastic", but it was assuring to hear him talk about this subject. It did not seem like I was listening to a scripted reading.
I listened in 5 sittings.
Thank you. I am a scientific and mechanically inclined human being. This is the kind of information I like and use in life.
Nothing more to say, if you want to know about particle physics, this will be an excellent place to start, or a wonderful refresher for those who have hear it all before. Well organized and well spoken. Absolutely wonderful for those long car rides.
Very well presented, enthusiastic introduction to particle physics, very much looking forward to extending my understanding since the Higgs was (with high probability) discovered in 2013. Prof Pollock's delivery is hugely engaging, and he never assumes any knowledge beyond a general appreciation of the scientific method. Would have liked some links to reference material, but Wikipedia sufficed to give a visual representation of the Standard Model as Prof Pollock built up the picture. Absolutely recommended to anyone with an enquiring mind, and with some 30 min slots in their day which can be dedicated to listening!
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