Learning Physics Through Free Courses

There’s something compelling about physics. Almost every major open courseware collection features a well-crafted physics course, and these courses consistently rank high on iTunesU and YouTube Edu. Let’s give a quick overview of the favorites.

At Stanford, we’re putting together a six course sequence called Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum. Taught by Leonard Susskind, one of America’s leading physics minds, this course traces the development of modern physics, moving from Newton to Einstein to Black Holes. So far, we’ve made five of the six courses available online (get them here), which amounts to 100 hours of free classroom footage. Hard to beat. (And, in case you’re wondering, the sixth course is being taped right now, and it will be coming online during the months to come.)

Another program that has received a fair amount of attention is Walter Lewin’s series of courses at MIT. As The New York Times has noted, Lewin has long had a cult following at MIT, and now, thanks to his physics courses, he’s achieved a minor degree of fame on the internet. His lectures, delivered with panache, can be found here:

A third course to call your attention to is Richard Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents (FeedMP3sYouTube).  The course comes out of UC Berkeley, where it’s an undergraduate favorite. (It’s also the basis of a recent book by the same name.) And the whole point here is to give citizens the scientific knowledge they need to understand critical issues facing our society.

Finally, another course worth reviewing is Fundamentals of Physics, which is taught by Ramamurti Shankar and it’s part of Yale’s Open Course initiative.

UPDATE: Since we originally created this collection, Bill Gates has posted Richard Feynman’s great lectures online. Learn more here.

All of these physics courses, and many more, can be found in our collection of Free Courses. You can also find the courses in our section called Physics: Free Courses.



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  1. Learn physics, amaze your friends « Later On says . . . | April 14, 2009 / 11:59 am

    [...] in Daily life, Education, Science at 12:59 pm by LeisureGuy Open Culture: There’s something compelling about physics. Almost every major open courseware collection [...]

  2. links for 2009-04-20 « TheUniversityBlog says . . . | April 20, 2009 / 2:04 pm

    [...] Learning Physics Through Open Courses | Open Culture (tags: education physics science) [...]

  3. Time Magazine Picks Favorite Open Courses | Open Culture says . . . | May 19, 2009 / 8:35 am

    [...] print edition.) First up: the often-mentioned physics courses taught by MIT’s Walter Lewin (more on that here). Next, Martin Lewis’ course, The Geography of US Elections, which comes out of Stanford [...]

  4. Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum | Open Culture says . . . | September 14, 2009 / 10:58 pm

    [...] Learning Physics Through Free Online Courses Share: [...]

  5. Physics in the Tiger Woods Scandal | Open Culture says . . . | December 13, 2009 / 11:28 pm

    [...] an author.) If you’re looking to bone up on your physics, let me save you a few bucks. With Learning Physics Through Free Online Courses, we have pulled together free courses from MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Yale, plus a series of [...]

  6. Tiger Woods scandal increases interest in physics « Later On says . . . | December 16, 2009 / 3:21 pm

    [...] an author.) If you’re looking to bone up on your physics, let me save you a few bucks. With Learning Physics Through Free Online Courses, we have pulled together free courses from MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Yale, plus a series of [...]

  7. The Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Dog Puppets | Open Culture says . . . | December 22, 2009 / 7:22 am

    [...] on YouTube in three parts: here, here and here. NOTE: Don’t forget to see our previous post: Learning Physics Through Open Courses. [...]

  8. The Best of Open Culture 2009 | Open Culture says . . . | December 30, 2009 / 9:03 am

    [...] Learning Physics Through Free Online Courses [...]

  9. Appreciative Insomniac says . . . | January 12, 2010 / 3:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing. :-)

  10. University Ranking says . . . | January 17, 2010 / 12:07 am

    Many of the top universities are now offering free courses like the University of Michigan and Yale. Hope there will be more free courses offered in many different fields.

  11. YEAR NINE EXAMS says . . . | February 25, 2010 / 8:53 am

    im only in year 9 and im doing an exam next week on physics im really worried because i have not learnt anything in my science class with Mr Brian IN Kings International College because he not fit to be a teacher because he can not teach properly and my parents are going to freak when i get my report because its going to be bad because he lies and he picks on people

  12. prakash says . . . | March 19, 2010 / 9:01 pm

    i would like to study physics online

  13. Einstein for the masses « Later On says . . . | June 24, 2010 / 1:56 pm

    [...] Learning Physics Through Free Courses [...]

  14. Einstein for the Masses | About Food and Restaurant says . . . | June 25, 2010 / 10:05 am

    [...] Learning Physics Through Free Courses [...]

  15. ALEX MONDAY YAKUBU says . . . | August 14, 2010 / 4:39 am

    LEARNING PHYSICS ONLINE

  16. Sher says . . . | September 10, 2010 / 2:49 pm

    can you get a transcript showing you took these online courses?

  17. mohammad jaylani says . . . | November 25, 2010 / 3:33 am

    Iwant to be member of your students

  18. MUHD ZUHAIRI BIN MOHD MARZUKI says . . . | December 7, 2010 / 6:32 pm

    I want to learn physics because I want to produce theory

  19. lindsey says . . . | December 31, 2010 / 5:50 am

    good to get here coz i wanna chease ma lyf dreams..but its kind of hard for me to do it like now because i cant get throw all this..What should i do??

  20. Latest University Rankings says . . . | June 19, 2011 / 4:22 pm

    Its good to see many universities are coming forward for open course wares. It would be good that apart from course notes, they publish class lectures like nptel, uc berkeley, mit and stanford

  21. melvin goldstein says . . . | July 8, 2011 / 12:13 pm

    Science and technology does have its limitation. There are Physics Foibles. See Godel Incompleteness.

  22. Krishnan says . . . | October 14, 2011 / 11:16 pm

    I need guidance. I am very keen on learning Physics. However do i need to first learn high school level maths & algebra before i start?

    looking forward to your input.

    Regards
    Krishnan

  23. ravi says . . . | October 28, 2011 / 6:21 am

    i can teach physics online.If any one want to learn physics online at very low cost then contact me my email id is ravindrapardeshi5844@yahoo.com

  24. sarah dass says . . . | November 8, 2011 / 3:16 pm

    i would like to learn physics online as i have only started it a while now and i am doing exams next year so i want to know is there any way you can help me speed up the process my #18684949184 sarah.

  25. Irfanullah_anwar says . . . | February 3, 2012 / 5:20 am

    I am about 17 years old.and i am student of 10th class and little bit weak in physics and exam is one and half month away form me please share some important notes to me. By which i take help from it…….Thanks.
    Yours obediently,
    Irfanullah_anwar

  26. albert einstein says . . . | May 27, 2012 / 1:07 am

    IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE

  27. albert einstein says . . . | May 27, 2012 / 1:14 am

    PHYSICS IS EVERYTHING

  28. albert einstein says . . . | May 27, 2012 / 1:15 am

    BAHTIYOR IS A GOOD BOY AND HE KNOWS PHYSICS VERY GOOD

  29. Abraham says . . . | September 20, 2012 / 11:32 am

    i need learn pleas help me!

  30. Amara Sampha Kargbo says . . . | December 27, 2012 / 5:02 am

    Is it possible to subscribe in other to get lectures?

  31. rose tyler says . . . | January 10, 2013 / 2:03 pm

    Hi! I am only in elementary school (almost in jr high) and i really want to learn physics so i really need some help. Please help me.

    – Rose

  32. Emeka S. Akunne says . . . | January 22, 2013 / 1:45 am

    though d level of knowledge i hav in Physics is little,I wish to increase and b an outstanding Physicist in d nearest years to come. Xo help me God!

  33. McArthur says . . . | February 24, 2013 / 11:32 am

    I want to be a pilot and my mom says “I have to know physics to be a pilot” so, I need to start learning even though I don’t know anything about it, I just need to be a step ahead of people in class.

  34. yousuf says . . . | April 27, 2013 / 10:20 pm

    i want to learn physics

  35. Violet says . . . | August 31, 2013 / 12:46 am

    I love physics.

  36. Shinja Okinawa says . . . | October 15, 2013 / 12:30 am

    I love Physics, there are no jobs, but I still love Physics.

  37. Shinja Okinawa says . . . | October 15, 2013 / 12:31 am

    Yes I do have a Degree in Physics.

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