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The Joy of Science | [The Great Courses, Robert M. Hazen]

The Joy of Science

Science is humanity's greatest achievement. It ranges from the study of the universe itself to the smallest particles of matter contained within it - and everything in between. If you want to better understand our physical world, as most of us do, gaining a basic understanding of science itself is profoundly important - yet many are intimidated by the breathtaking scope of such an endeavor. Now an award-winning science teacher has taken out the intimidation, harnessing that breathtaking scope into a series of 60 exciting, comprehensive, and accessible lectures.
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Publisher's Summary

Science is humanity's greatest achievement. It ranges from the study of the universe itself to the smallest particles of matter contained within it - and everything in between. It explores everything from the big bang to theories about the end of the universe.

If you want to better understand our physical world, as most of us do, gaining a basic understanding of science itself is profoundly important - yet many are intimidated by the breathtaking scope of such an endeavor.

Now an award-winning science teacher has taken out the intimidation, harnessing that breathtaking scope into a series of 60 exciting, comprehensive, and accessible lectures that let you explore and understand the wealth of ideas, discoveries, and principles in all of the physical and biological sciences. You learn that understanding science comes from understanding not only its component disciplines - each of which has its own theories, pioneers, problems, and fundamental questions - but of knowing how these disciplines work with one another to create an entire mosaic of human knowledge.

The lectures have been crafted to make those relationships crystal-clear, with an integrated approach that takes you through all of the major disciplines that fall under the umbrella of "science," including physics, chemistry, Earth science, geophysics, and biology.

Each lecture covers one of the 60 fundamental principles of the scientific world - offering you new knowledge and insight into topics such as the scientific method, gravitation, atoms, the big bang, plate tectonics, volcanoes, proteins, ecosystems, and electricity.

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.

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (136 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 09-30-13
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 09-30-13 Member Since 2011

    I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!

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    "Back to school"

    I knew when I downloaded this book that I was being a bit of a nerd, using up time that could have been spent listening to riveting fiction swotting up on chemistry, biology and physics. But I couldn’t resist it. Science is a big part of my job (I work in an intensive care unit) but I didn't opt for science at school, and although I know a fair amount about human biology I’m really aware of fundamental gaps in my knowledge concerning the basic sciences underpinning biology and science in general. This lecture series has definitely helped to fill those gaps.

    He’s a pretty good lecturer, with a very good knack for explaining complex concepts using simple, helpful analogies. And the series is thoughtfully constructed so that it begins with the most fundamental concepts in science and then builds on this so that the listener acquires an overview of all human scientific endeavour by the end of the series.

    Downsides? Well, it’s pretty old. These recordings were made in the 1990s, and whilst the basics of science haven’t changed significantly in those 20 years, you do keep wondering whether some of the modern scientific topics he mentions are still current (e.g. the large hadron collider and recent advances in medicine). He talks about global warming as if it’s just some controversial new theory that some scientists are working on, and the internet isn’t mentioned at all.

    If you can tolerate the fact that it is dated and you want to learn more about the fundamentals of science, you should get this book. It is also great value, with 60 lectures for your one Audible credit.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabrielle 11-19-13
    Gabrielle 11-19-13 Member Since 2012
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    "beautiful and exciting"
    If you could sum up The Joy of Science in three words, what would they be?

    comprehensive, understandable, exciting


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I never realised that Faraday was so cool.


    Any additional comments?

    This course was excellent - it was comprehensive and enthralling and I learned so very much even though I already had a good understanding of science already. The details on various subjects are great for linking ideas across fields and the snippets of history told throughout contextualise the scientists and their discoveries beautifully so that the information is easy to remember and place. I loved this course, it was entertaining and I had so much to think about and talk about as a result of listening to it. Whether you have studied no science at school or have always been interested in science, this is a very good place to start your journey. It was indeed a 'joy'.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 07-31-13
    Steven 07-31-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Great course, but a bit dated."
    Where does The Joy of Science rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoyed the course, but a lot of the course's mentioned projects have been completed, and there is a great deal that is missing...since this just came out, I was assuming it would be more current.


    If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

    This is the best course of the three I have listened to.


    Any additional comments?

    I find Dr. Hazen is very good at explaining complex material. I read his book on scientific literacy, and it is a great place to start on many subjects.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mat J Monk 09-11-14
    Mat J Monk 09-11-14
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    "Very comprehensive"
    What made the experience of listening to The Joy of Science the most enjoyable?

    This is probably my 10th or 11th Great Courses audiobook that I've gotten and it has kept up the tradition of being both informative and interesting. The only downside to the course is that it appears to have been recorded over a decade ago and things that Professor Hazen mentions as being things to watch in the future have already been done and in some cases are "old" news. But the depth of material is outstanding and very well organized.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The sheer scope of all the scientific disciplines. The least interesting is the references to the visual materials that are not available with the Audible edition of the book.


    What does Professor Robert M. Hazen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Down to earth way of explaining the various subjects with just enough technical details to not make it seem like he's presenting a children's book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 30 hours, not a chance!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S Willow Beach, ON, Canada 06-25-15
    S Willow Beach, ON, Canada 06-25-15 Member Since 2004
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    "Full of Amazement"

    I often reflected, while listening to this lecture series, about the teachers that Robert Hazen must have had (beginning with his father) who inspired such a sense of wonder and delight in his view of the world of science. I majored in Science in University, but never studied electronics, physics or mechanics. This lecture series opened a door into that mysterious world, and I "caught" a sense of the wonder with which Dr. Hazen shared his flying trip through these subjects - always tantalizing the listener with other Great Courses that would permit them to delve further into these amazing subjects.
    I have only one SMALL criticism. This lecture series is nearly 20 years old! With the world of science galloping ahead, it felt strange to hear Dr. Hazen refer to the turn of the century in future tense. In a way, it offered an almost historical perspective of the world of science and what scientists hoped to discover in the not too distant future (which is now past). I would love to hear a sequel . . . to pick up the thread where this wonderful series left off.
    Bless Dr. Hazen - and bless those teachers who so inspired him to explore and inspire those who were lucky enough to learn from him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 04-18-15
    John 04-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great value"

    This is tremendous value given the length of the tape and the amount of information there is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    1DrummingAddict Mount Juliet, TN 02-24-15
    1DrummingAddict Mount Juliet, TN 02-24-15 Member Since 2014

    I love just a few things... Family, Drumming, Baseball, and Intellect.

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    "Brilliant!"

    What more do you need to know? The only down side is the age of the recording. The Higgs has been discovered and this doesn't mention it because it didn't happen yet. But everything from the origin of the elements to the evolution of modern humans is covered, and extremely well!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    amacust 02-04-15
    amacust 02-04-15 Member Since 2014
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    "The lectures well organized and factual."

    If you like science and physics, you will like this series. For the average person the lectures are easy to listen to and understand. They are presenred in a maner that is not extremely complex or theoretical. I like the way the chapters varied from one subject to another. The short summaries at the beginning and end of the chapters helped tie everything together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Abignale United States of America 01-02-15
    Frank Abignale United States of America 01-02-15 Member Since 2015

    in awe

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    "Taking the joy OUT of science (or JoyLESS Science)"
    What would have made The Joy of Science better?

    Less mathematical formulas, less chemical formulas, less incredibly irrelevant biograpgical information of each and every most obscure figure in the history of science and more explanations for the layman. Plus this was not made for the "audio audience". It was a course with obvious visual cues. You get to hear a lot of what you were supposed to have seen. Don't waste your time or money on this. Get "a very short history of everything" by Bill Bryson, instead.


    If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses and Robert M. Hazen before, how does this one compare?

    Not by M. Hazen. He is absolutely knowledgeable and very informed, he just has no idea how to make a relevant science course for the layman. Here are some of the things you will hear in this course: "...Radium 226 decays to Radium 222... The number of protons and electrons name the ion...covalent bonding...isobutane versus normal butane...semi conductor with a few mobile charges..." So what? How is any of this joyful? or enlightening?


    How could the performance have been better?

    Try not to mention every mathematical formula that comes to mind or add visual presentations to an audio course. Omit every possible minutiae about obscure historical figures. E.g. Whom John doe married and got married to or divorced from for the third time or eleventh have absolutely NO relevance in a science course or any joyfulness. Or don't name the course "The Joy of science", unless you are being sarcastic.


    What character would you cut from The Joy of Science?

    Thousands. Literally.


    Any additional comments?

    It was one of the most excruciating experiences i have ever had with audible. It is an ENDLESS listen. It is boring beyond belief and it is mind boggling how this could have been put in the store for sale as an audio "course", and there is just too much irrelevant information. And i LOVE science. There are things to be learned here, but they are few and sparse. SKIP IT. Audible: Please remove this from the store or make it obvious that it is a course that you are supposed to WATCH (if you wanna be tortured, but that is beyond the point) not listen to!!!

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christy Wolfe Kansas City, Missouri United States 12-16-14
    Christy Wolfe Kansas City, Missouri United States 12-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Jr. High level science overview"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and Robert M. Hazen and/or Professor Robert M. Hazen?

    I might. He seems a little condescending and chirrup-y, as if speaking to someone for whom he has good intentions but little respect.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses and Robert M. Hazen again?

    I love The Great Courses and have listened to literally dozens of lecture series. Their approach generally presumes listeners possess a basic level of pre-existing knowledge on the subject matter.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator may not be to blame - it's the subject matter and breadth I found lacking.


    Do you think The Joy of Science needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    In my opinion this particular lecture series covers less information, in more simplified detail, than most people learn in high school.


    Any additional comments?

    This lecture seems directed to children or maybe older folks who haven't taken a science course for many, many years and perhaps haven't kept up with recent advancements. Maybe it's directed to science detractors, such as creationists, but nonetheless it seems very simple compared to other courses I've heard.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Pepe
    Valencia, Spain
    5/6/15
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    "Good in general but but the best"

    This is a good introduction to general science but sound is broken at times, plus religion is treated too mildly.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • jj_reviewerextraordinaire
    4/30/15
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    "Fantastic Fundamentals"

    My younger self found great distraction at school and as such I seem to have walked away from the fundamentals of a good education with little to show for it!
    As an adult I have a voracious appetite to know how things work, which is not supported by my missing education. These lectures help fill in some of those gaps!
    I enjoyed learning all the topics and found the lecturer engaging. Although it can be heard that he is conducting some experiments during a lecture or two, and as an audio version those visuals are sadly lost. He also mentions hand outs that accompany the lectures, again this is left to imagination.
    My one criticism is that during the lectures it becomes clear that the speaker is talking pre 2000, so with 15 years between the time of the talks until now, many new revelations may have been made in such a dynamic field.
    Overall, very interesting and a great way to make one curious about the world's workings!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • robert
    2/13/15
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    "great book"

    I failed science at school but now a bit old this was great insight and now feel I would now pass my gcse's :-)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gharper
    12/3/14
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    "Fantastic. I know so much science now!"

    Given that there are so many lectures, some sections are undoubtedly more interesting than others. I particularly enjoyed the stuff about chemistry and genetics. Everything scientific I can think it would be worth knowing about is covered!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. A. Thelwell
    Chesterfield, Derbyshire, U.K.
    1/27/15
    Overall
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"

    OK, you're not going to be Stephen Hawking if you complete this course; it's little more than GCSE (high school) level stuff. However, it's refreshing and enlightening to take a whistle-stop 60-lecture tour through all the major branches of modern science (I say 'modern' although this recording is now 15 years old).

    I really enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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