Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Editition (The Great Courses)
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Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Editition (The Great Courses)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  16 reviews
"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Richard Wolfson at the outset of this course on what may be the most important subject in the universe. Relativity and quantum physics touch the very basis of physical reality, altering our commonsense notions of space and time, cause and effect. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic i...more
DVD, 2nd Edition
Published 2000 by The Great Courses
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I listened to the 24 lectures on my ipod. It also came with a little booklet that outlined each lesson and provided visuals. It was really well done since Wolfson is a physics professor and, therefore, teaches this stuff regularly. And I think I'm finally understanding this stuff... It's very fascinating to me, but unfortunately people generally don't want to discuss curved space time or the path an electron takes over dinner.
This lecture series presents in simple "words" theories in physics that everyone talks about without knowing the true meaning of, relativity theory and quantum mechanics. It is presented by one Professor Richard Wolfson, one of the brightest scientists in Physics. The series is divided into two parts:
1- Special and general Relativity theory by Albert Einstein:
Brief history about physics starting from Galilean physics, Newtonian physics, them finally, relativity physics and how Einstein was able...more
Overall, the lectures feel rushed with Wolfson gushing information unnaturally quickly as if he were on some sort of timed game show. It's not the speed of information that is a problem, but the frantic tone he takes making it feel like we're bothering him with questions he is good enough to answer, but he really must get going out the door.

The first half of this series is the sort of thing you get from watching any Discovery Channel show about the galaxy or the universe, which I suspect you are...more
This installment of the "Great Courses" series gives a nice and simple overview of Einstein's Relativity theories (both Special and General) and the coming, at the time, Quantum Revolution. Dr. Wolfson does an excellent job of introducing important theories conceptually in a way that makes them accessible (I think) to non-technically-trained listeners. This is a great introduction for curious people without a background in Physics, or a fun review for people who just can't get enough of this stu...more
This is a superb introduction to modern physics for the non-scientist (i.e., no math equations to work through; instead it’s filled with lots of thought problems). I think Dr. Wolfson does as good a job as can be done in explaining the concepts so you can appreciate and have some understanding of special relativity, general relativity, and quantum physics. I especially appreciated the lectures on special relativity, and I now have a much better understanding of this complex topic than I ever did...more
A nice physics lecture that explains the broad ideas of special and general relativity as well as quantum physics in a way in which one can understand what they're about, albeit not their specifics.

What I liked about it in particular was that it also discussed the difficulties/inconsistencies in previous theories that drove the physics community to make these discoveries.

The audio version of this course (a video one exists as well) is hard to follow in certain places because of the missing visua...more
David Grossman
Finished the section on Relativity. Very impressive. The General Relativity section wasnt as rigorously demonstrated as for Special Relativity, probably because the math is much more intimidating, and our experience with extreme conditions (eg, black holes) is limited. Most of our experience is with earth's 'weak gravity (something not very reassuring when I'm on top of a skyscraper)', where escape velocity is much slower than light speed.
John Doyle
Fascinating, accessible, and well-paced review of classical physics and quantum mechanics. For me, Richard Wolfson's explanations of the philosophical implications of wave/particle duality and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle were highlights of this lecture series. In contrast, the fifteen minutes devoted to string theory at the very end of the lecture seemed patronizingly long. A universe with eleven dimensions seems intuitive...
I listened to these lectures and I found the professor often a little too repetitive for me, but the topic of the lectures is absolutely fascinating. It was a reminder of how vast the world/univers is and how much we still have to learn. If I had been taught some of these things when I was in high school, I seriously might have considered a career in physics. After learning these things, your brain will never be the same.
Do not be confused by my rating.
This is a very good set of lectures.
I just didn't learn anything new myself, having already read many physics books.
Some of these lectures were fun to listen to, but most were boring to me.
Not because the contents were boring, but because I learned it all in High School.
So, I recommend this book for people with a burgeoning interest in physics.
Okay, I'm a wimp. I was so proud of my non-scientist self for tackling these lectures, feeling all smug that I was stretching my mind. Well, I found my mind didn't feel so much stretched as bored beyond desire for existence. I listened to 7 lectures before I gave up. I guess there's a reason why I remain a non-scientist...
Brad Barker
I liked this lecture. The professor does a good job covering Special Relativity, and making it accessible. He touches on General Relativity a bit, and String theory as well, but only just. Certainly worth a listen.
I truly enjoyed this series of lectures on audio cd. It felt wonderful to relearn some things I had forgotten - and Einstein was amazing. Very understandable presentation; Wolfson loves what he studies.
I'm listening to this on CD and I'm LOVING it! You don't need any science, math, or physics background to understand his lectures.
Wolfson is fantastic in explaining relativity and quantum mechanics - even to newbies.
D'funnies Green
Fantastic and super duper amazing!!! ^^
Shane Burgel
Very fascinating
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