In high school, my physics teacher taught the class by having us listen to his long, monotonous lectures. After I realized that I couldn’t digest his verbal lessons, I stopped listening. Instead, I picked up a textbook and never looked back. I can only imagine how much better off I would have been had I taken a physics class like Brian Greene’s special relativity course on World Science U.
We featured Greene’s work two years ago, when the Columbia University physicist and mathematician launched his impressive PBS series, The Fabric of The Cosmos. Now, Greene and other scientists have created a new education platform called World Science U, and it promises to offer rich, rigorous and engaging courses in the sciences — for free. As Greene explains above, the free courses offered by World Science U take abstract concepts and represent them graphically, using a slew of interactive activities and real-world scenarios. Students receive immediate performance feedback on the problem sets they complete, and have access to a large number of video lectures. Theory is illustrated by way of intuitive animations, and exercises are paired with video solutions that take students through the ideal way to derive the answer.
Although later classes will tackle general relativity, quantum mechanics, and other subjects, World Science U has only two full courses available at present. The first is Greene’s brief conceptual class on special relativity that lasts 2-3 weeks, called Space, Time, and Einstein. There’s also a more advanced, university level course on the same topic called Special Relativity, which lasts about 10 weeks. Interested? We’ll let Greene himself tell you a little more about them in the video below.
World Science U also has a nifty section called Science Unplugged, where readers can find dozens of short video answers to a multitude of questions they may have about scientific concepts, like dark matter and quantum mechanics. Below, for example, Greene explains the anthropic principle: