Elizabeth Olmsted

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

  • By: Richard Wolfson, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Richard Wolfson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,553
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,151
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,082

"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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great primer for hard SF fans and physics laymen

  • By David on 01-05-15

Engaging, I wish it went deeper

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-02-14

What made the experience of listening to Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?

It's a fascinating topic, and Prof. Wolfson is clearly passionate about the subject.

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

I found myself listening to 2-3 lessons at a time, and doing more chores than usual, because I was learning so much.

Any additional comments?

Prof. Wolfson does sometimes sound like he's rushing to get through the material, in the tone and nature of his speech, but I was able to follow along with everything he explained. Obviously he couldn't cover everything. He made the comment several times "no math!", which must say something about the intended audience. I'm not afraid of math, so I would've liked a little more on the math side, and more-detailed explanations of some of the more complicated subjects.

Also, I'm not sure when it was recorded, probably early 2000s? Which means he's a bit out of date, e.g. talking about the Large Hadron Collider at Cern that was *going* to be built, which has now been built, and the Higgs Boson being a speculative particle, which they've now discovered. But hey, now I know what the "Hadron" in "the Large Hadron Collider" means!

Overall, it's an easy-to-follow intro to both relativity and quantum physics. Almost certainly you can find all of this information elsewhere, but this is a nice format and a nice presentation.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful