What's the "theoretical minimum" for thinking intelligently about modern physics? Here's your chance to find out. Below, you will find three courses (the first of eventually six) presented by Leonard Susskind, a Stanford physicist who helped conceptualize string theory and has waged a long-running "Black Hole War" with Stephen Hawking (see his new book on that subject here). Freely available on iTunes and YouTube (see below), these video lectures trace the beginnings of modern theoretical physics, taking you from Isaac Newton (or Newtonian Mechanics) to Albert Einstein's work on the general and special theories of relativity. Notably, these courses were originally presented within Stanford's Continuing Studies program, which means that the content was pitched to an audience much like you -- that is, smart people who don't necessarily have an extensive knowledge of physics. Watch the video below -- the first lecture that kicks off the series of courses -- and you will see what I mean.
Finally, in case you're wondering, the next three courses (covering quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, cosmology, black holes, and more) will be presented this coming academic year and, once taped, we will give you a heads up. Sign up for our RSS Feed and you will be sure to get an update. Also see our collection of Free Online Courses for many more courses along these lines.
Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum
- Classical Mechanics (Fall 2007) iTunes YouTube
- Quantum Mechanics (Winter 2008) iTunes YouTube
- Special Relativity (Spring 2008) iTunes YouTube
- Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (Fall 2009) iTunes YouTube
- Cosmology iTunes - YouTube
- Statistical Mechanics iTunes YouTube
In 2006-2007, Susskind taped a separate series of lectures on Quantum Mechanics. You can download them as free video lectures as well: