The Great Courses: Physics

6 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 8,399 ratings

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

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
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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 3,219
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,850
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,791

    "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

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time

    • By: Sean Carroll, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Sean Carroll
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,297
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,147

    Time rules our lives, woven into the very fabric of the universe-from the rising and setting of the sun to the cycles of nature, the thought processes in our brains, and the biorhythms in our day. Nothing so pervades our existence and yet is so difficult to explain. But now, in a series of 24 riveting lectures, you can grasp exactly why - as you take a mind-expanding journey through the past, present, and future, guided by a noted author and scientist.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Get From Eternity to Here instead

    • By Michael on 07-24-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Joy of Science

    • By: Robert M. Hazen, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert M. Hazen
    • Length: 30 hrs and 29 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 459
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 396
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 394

    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.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Back to school

    • By Mark on 09-30-13

    Regular price: $59.95

    • Particle Physics for Non-Physicists: A Tour of the Microcosmos

    • By: Steven Pollock, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Steven Pollock
    • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,185
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,061
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,044

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Fantastic but Dated

    • By Greg on 01-07-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Great Ideas of Classical Physics

    • By: Steven Pollock, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Steven Pollock
    • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 283
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 256
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 254

    Classical physics is about how things move, why they move, and how they work. It's about making sense of motion, gravity, light, heat, sound, electricity, and magnetism, and seeing how these phenomena interweave to create the rich tapestry of everyday experience. It is, in short, the hidden order of the universe.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Enthusiastic Professor Captured My Interest

    • By C. D. White on 03-29-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Higgs Boson and Beyond

    • By: Sean Carroll, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Sean Carroll
    • Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,956
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,719
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,702

    In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this discovery, including the basics of quantum mechanics; the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics; how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and the importance of symmetry in physics.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Very well done

    • By Jon Dahl on 03-12-15

    Regular price: $14.95