Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video]

Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video]
Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video] by Richard Wolfson
Course No 1280 | AVI, 1024 kbps, 512x384 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 60x30 mins | 14.87GB

Physics is the fundamental science. It explains how the universe behaves at every scale, from the subatomic to the extragalactic. It describes the most basic objects and forces and how they interact. Its laws tell us how the planets move, where light comes from, what keeps birds aloft, why a magnet attracts and also repels, and when a falling object will hit the ground, and it gives answers to countless other questions about how the world works.

Physics also gives us extraordinary power over the world, paving the way for devices from radios to GPS satellites, from steam engines to nanomaterials. It's no exaggeration to say that every invention ever conceived makes use of the principles of physics. Moreover, physics not only underlies all of the natural sciences and engineering, but also its discoveries touch on the deepest philosophical questions about the nature of reality.

Which makes physics sound like the most complicated subject there is. But it isn't. The beauty of physics is that it is simple, so simple that anyone can learn it. In 60 enthralling half-hour lectures, Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works proves that case, giving you a robust, introductory college-level course in physics. This course doesn't stint on details and always presents its subject in all of its elegance—yet it doesn't rely heavily on equations and mathematics, using nothing more advanced than high school algebra and trigonometry.

Your teacher is Professor Richard Wolfson, a noted physicist and educator at Middlebury College. Professor Wolfson is author or coauthor of a wide range of physics textbooks, including a widely used algebra-based introduction to the subject for college students. He has specially designed Physics and Our Universe to be entirely self-contained, requiring no additional resources. And for those who wish to dig deeper, he includes an extensive list of suggested readings that will enhance your understanding of basic physics.

Explore the Fundamentals of Reality

Intensively illustrated with diagrams, illustrations, animations, graphs, and other visual aids, these lectures introduce you to scores of fundamental ideas such as these:

  • Newton's laws of motion: Simple to state, these three principles demolish our intuitive sense of why things move. Following where they lead gives a unified picture of motion and force that forms the basis of classical physics.
  • Bernoulli effect: In fluids, an increase in speed means a decrease in pressure. This effect has wide application in aerodynamics and hydraulics. It explains why curve balls curve and why plaque in an artery can cause the artery to collapse.
  • Second law of thermodynamics: Echoing the British novelist and physicist C. P. Snow, Professor Wolfson calls this law about the tendency toward disorder "like a work of Shakespeare's" in its importance to an educated person's worldview.
  • Maxwell's equations: Mathematically uniting the theories of electricity and magnetism, these formulas have a startling outcome, predicting the existence of electromagnetic waves that move at the speed of light and include visible light.
  • Interference and diffraction: The wave nature of light looms large when light interacts with objects comparable in size to the light's wavelength. Interference and diffraction are two intriguing phenomena that appear at these scales.
  • Relativity and quantum theory: Introduced in the early 20th century, these revolutionary ideas not only patched cracks in classical mechanics but led to realms of physics never imagined, with limitless new horizons for research.

A Course of Breathtaking Scope

The above ideas illustrate the breathtaking scope of Physics and Our Universe, which is broken into six areas of physics plus an introductory section that take you from Isaac Newton's influential "clockwork universe" in the 17th century to the astonishing ideas of modern physics, which have overturned centuries-old views of space, time, and matter. The seven sections of the course are these:

  • Introduction: Start the course with two lectures on the universality of physics and its special languages.
  • Newtonian Mechanics: Immerse yourself in the core ideas that transformed physics into a science.
  • Oscillations, Waves, Fluids: See how Newtonian mechanics explains systems involving many particles.
  • Thermodynamics: Investigate heat and its connection to the all-important concept of energy.
  • Electricity and Magnetism: Explore electromagnetism, the dominant force on the atomic through human scales.
  • Optics: Proceed from the study of light as simple rays to phenomena involving light's wave properties.
  • Beyond Classical Physics: Review the breakthroughs in physics that began with Max Planck and Albert Einstein.

As vast as this scope is, you will not be overwhelmed, because one set of ideas in physics builds on those that precede it. Professor Wolfson constantly reviews where you've been, tying together different concepts and giving you a profound sense of how one thing leads to another in physics. Since the 17th century, physics has expanded like a densely branching tree, with productive new shoots continually forming, some growing into major limbs, but all tracing back to the sturdy foundation built by Isaac Newton and others—which is why Physics and Our Universe and most other introductory physics courses have a historical focus, charting the fascinating growth of the field.

An interesting example is Newtonian mechanics. Developments in the late 19th century showed that Newton's system breaks down at very high speeds and small scales, which is why relativity and quantum theory replaced classical physics in these realms. But the Newtonian approach is still alive and well for many applications. Newtonian mechanics will get you to the moon in a spacecraft, allow you to build a dam or a skyscraper, explain the behavior of the atmosphere, and much more. On the other hand, for objects traveling close to the speed of light or events happening in the subatomic realm, you learn that relativity and quantum theory are the powerful new tools for describing how the world works.

Seeing Is Believing

Physics would not be physics without experiments, and one of the engaging aspects of this course is the many on-screen demonstrations that Professor Wolfson performs to illustrate physical principles in action. With a showman's gifts, he conducts scores of experiments, including the following:

  • Whirling bucket: Why doesn't water fall out of a bucket when you whirl it in a vertical circle? It is commonly believed that there is a force holding the water up. But this is a relic of pre-Newtonian thinking dating to Aristotle. Learn to analyze what's really going on.
  • Bowling ball pendulum: Would you bet the safety of your skull on the conservation of energy? Watch a volunteer release a pendulum that swings across the room and hurtles back directly at her nose, which escapes harm thanks to the laws of physics.
  • Big chill: What happens when things get really cold? Professor Wolfson pours liquid nitrogen on a blown-up balloon, demonstrating dramatic changes in the volume of air in the balloon. Discover other effects produced by temperature change.
  • Energy and power: How much power is ordered up from the grid whenever you turn on an electric light? Get a visceral sense by watching a volunteer crank a generator to make a light bulb glow. Try a simple exercise to experience the power demand yourself.
  • Total internal reflection: How does a transparent medium such as glass act as an almost perfect mirror without a reflective coating? See a simple demonstration that reveals the principle behind rainbows, binoculars, and optical fibers.
  • Relativity revelation: What gave Einstein the idea for his special theory of relativity? Move a magnet through a coil, then move a coil around a magnet. You get the same effect. But in Einstein's day there were two separate explanations, which made him think ...

Math for Those Who Want to Probe Deeper

Professor Wolfson doesn't just perform memorable experiments. He introduces basic mathematics to analyze situations in detail—for example, by calculating exactly the speed a rollercoaster needs to travel to keep passengers from falling out at the top of a loop-the-loop track, or by showing that the reason high voltage is used for electrical power transmission is revealed in the simple expression that applies Ohm's law, relating current and voltage, to the formula for power.

You also see how amazing insights can be hidden in seemingly trivial mathematical details. Antimatter was first postulated when physicist Paul Dirac was faced with a square root term in an equation, and instead of throwing out one of the answers as would normally have been done, he decided to pursue the implications of two solutions.

Whenever Professor Wolfson introduces an equation, he explains what every term in the equation means and the significance of the equation for physics. You need not go any further than this to follow his presentation, but for those who wish to probe deeper he works out solutions to many problems, showing the extraordinary reach of mathematics in analyzing nature. But he stresses that physics is not about math; it's the ideas of physics that are crucial.

Understand the World in a New Way

Above all, the ideas of physics are simple. As you discover in this course, just a handful of important concepts permeate all of physics. Among them are

  • conservation of energy,
  • conservation of momentum,
  • second law of thermodynamics,
  • conservation of electric charge,
  • principle of relativity, and
  • Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

The key is not just to think in terms of these principles, but also to let go of common misconceptions, such as the idea that force causes motion; in fact, force causes change in motion. As you progress through Physics and Our Universe, you'll inevitably start to see the world differently.

"I love teaching physics and I love to see the understanding light up in people's eyes," says Professor Wolfson. "You'll see common, everyday phenomena with new understanding, like slamming on the brakes of your car and hearing the antilock brake system engage and knowing the physics of why it works; like going out on a very cold day and appreciating why your breath is condensing; like turning on your computer and understanding what's going on in those circuits. You will come to a much greater appreciation of all aspects of the world around you."

Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity's Greatest Empire [TTC Video]

Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity's Greatest Empire [TTC Video]
Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity's Greatest Empire [TTC Video] by Steven L Tuck
Course No 3430 | AVI, XviD, 793 kbps, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.73 GB

Rome was the greatest empire of the ancient world, a colossus that spanned three continents, ruled over millions of people, lasted more than a thousand years, and left as its most enduring legacy the foundation of much of Western culture. Yet, in an empire in which perhaps only one person in ten was literate, how was Rome able to so successfully communicate its civic and cultural values, or project a knowledge of Roman power, to every corner of the realm?

In Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity's Greatest Empire, award-winning Professor Steven L. Tuck of Miami University offers a unique way to understand the relationships that connected Rome, its citizens, and its subjects, and to see the visual and experiential ways in which Rome made and kept those relationships clear.

A Unique Opportunity to Explore the Roots of Our Own Culture

In this fascinating course on the visual nature of ancient Rome, Professor Tuck helps you understand the foundations of your own culture that simply cannot be conveyed through standard courses in art, ancient history, architecture, or religion.

By learning how Rome communicated in so many visually symbolic ways, you gain insight into how similar tools are still used today. You are able to hone your ability to see them at work in the visual symbols that are part of government, the military, religion, and just about every aspect of contemporary public or private life.

And if you're planning a trip to Rome or any other location bearing the marks of its empire, these lectures will also help you prepare for your trip, experience it, and get the most benefit for your travel dollar.

Learn How to Read a Message Meant for an Empire

Professor Tuck guides you through all the ways in which Rome set forth its message, showing you how it flawlessly conveyed all that needed to be said through a vast range of visual spectacle, shared cultural experience, and deliberately crafted structure or imagery:

  • Extravagant public displays, including triumphal marches, gladiatorial combat, chariot races, animal hunts, executions, and even life-sized re-creations of its naval triumphs in vast flooded arenas
  • The architecture of its leading citizens' lavish homes, where design and decor carried a message, from the achievements of a host's lineage to a visitor's position within Rome's civic and social hierarchy
  • The design of its imperial forums and other public spaces and even its harbors, which made clear the voyager's return or his entry into the orbit of Roman power and civic obligation
  • The unavoidable and deliberate messages in Rome's beautiful statuary, sculptural reliefs, and other visual art
  • Rome's emphasis on spectacle and entertainment over political engagement and introspection in the design and use of its theaters
  • The extraordinary engineering achievements that not only built roads, bridges, and aqueducts across the vast range of its empire, but imposed on the very forms of nature itself an often brutal—and always self-aware—topography of Roman power
  • The role of religion in reinforcing Roman values and even in building Rome itself, with the city's very shape altered by the monuments and temples built to fulfill its citizens' vows to deities

Experience the Significance of Rome in a New Way

Even if you have some familiarity with ancient Rome, you'll likely be surprised at the vividness with which Professor Tuck immerses you in Roman life:

  • Elite homes: You learn how the houses of Rome's most powerful families played a significant role in reinforcing social structures and the achievement and stature of the host's family. Deceased family members were represented in a home's public areas by mementos of accomplishments, such as military trophies or the blood-stained armor of defeated foes, and also by imagines of those decedents—images rendered in the form of portrait busts or wax death masks.
  • Rome's imperial baths: In a culture in which so many of the institutions that define Rome were off limits to most people, you see how Rome's magnificent public bathing spas were an exception—a chance for every Roman to experience the tangible benefits of empire and wealth. Free of charge and extraordinarily opulent, these grand complexes were used by everyone, from slaves to the emperor himself. Within their lavish walls, favors would be curried and the obligations of the elite met.
  • Rome's triumphal arches: The 100 triumphal arches that line the great avenues of Rome—and have inspired similar structures throughout the world—represent perhaps the quintessential form of Roman monument. In the stories told by their carvings, as well as by their very presence, they serve, as Professor Tuck notes, to "literally petrify victory imagery in stone," making ephemeral events permanent in the eyes of both the subsequent processions that march beneath them and the Romans who line the streets to watch.

And, of course, there are our eyes as well, still able to read Rome's messages, even after 2,000 years, as accurately as the Romans and non-Romans alike to whom they were first intended.

A Stunning View of Ancient Rome

Representing the most extensive investment we've ever put into a course, this provocative and lavish learning experience is different from any visual course The Teaching Company has ever presented.

Featuring more than 1,000 visuals—including original art commissioned exclusively for this course—Experiencing Rome draws on computer animations of Roman villas, actual artifacts, and revealing maps, along with breathtaking photography of Rome's statuary, mosaics, sculptural reliefs, buildings, public spaces, and monuments.

Many of those photographs were taken by Professor Tuck himself on the numerous study trips he has led to Italy and England. His discussions of the details behind many of the photos add immensely to their impact.

Similarly, his exceptionally well-rounded background in history, classics, classical art, archaeology, and even epigraphy—the study of ancient inscriptions—adds an extra dimension of richness to every discussion.

Combined with a dry sense of humor that balances the sense of gravity that often accompanies explorations of Roman antiquity, his superb teaching skills make him particularly well suited to this subject.

Experiencing Rome: A Visual Exploration of Antiquity's Greatest Empire shows you how very much there still is to discover in a historical legacy you've been experiencing your entire life.

The Economics of Uncertainty [TTC Video]

The Economics of Uncertainty [TTC Video]
The Economics of Uncertainty [TTC Video] by Professor Connel Fullenkamp
Course No 5523 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.13 GB

Economies are deeply complex systems. The global marketplace—even national, state and local economies—involve many economic actors behaving in rational and irrational ways, sustaining a dizzying array of interconnected activity. Because of the number of participants involved in this global exchange, the unpredictability of their actions, and the sheer variety of possible actions, some degree of economic uncertainty is inevitable.

In one of the most dramatic displays of economic uncertainty in our times, a wave of toxic loans almost brought down the American financial system in 2008-2009, and with it jobs and savings. Few experts forecast this catastrophe, which stands as a lesson in the power of economic forces to defy our predictions. This event may have been exceptional, but every day we are all at the mercy of economic uncertainty in matters such as these:

  • Stock market: Although the stock market has a long-term upward trend, short-term volatility can wipe out a large fraction of an investor’s wealth in a single day.
  • Careers: No job is safe from the constant assault of domestic competition, offshoring, innovation, downsizing, government regulation, and other factors.
  • Insurance: The types of insurance products have skyrocketed to the point that you could easily spend all of your earnings to cover possible disasters.
  • Retirement: Is your retirement secure if you live to be 100? What if you suffer a debilitating chronic disease? How will your nest egg fare if inflation soars?

Uncertainty also plagues us in smaller ways. For example, everyone is familiar with rising prices, but the Internet now makes it possible for online shoppers to be charged more based on their buying history, adding a new level of unpredictability to pricing. And anytime you hire someone for a service—from roofing to dentistry—you face the principal-agent problem, in which the person hired may take unethical advantage of your lack of expertise.

Indeed, these large and small risks are so pervasive that it is all too easy to conclude that nothing can be done. But economic uncertainty is like the weather: you can’t stop storms from happening, but understanding how and why they happen allows you to be prepared. In the same way, economic uncertainty is beyond our control, but we’re in a much better position to respond if we know what’s happening and why.

In 24 practical and empowering half-hour lectures, The Economics of Uncertainty takes the mystery and dread out of uncertainty, giving you the tools to deal with risk in every phase of your life. Your guide is Professor Connel Fullenkamp, an acclaimed economist and award-winning teacher at Duke University, where he is Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Duke’s nationally ranked Economics Department.

Deepen Your Knowledge of Economics

Gearing his presentation to novices as well as those with a background in micro- and macro-economics, Professor Fullenkamp shows that the study of uncertainty sheds light on a wide range of phenomena, including:

  • financial markets
  • business cycles
  • inflation and deflation
  • free trade
  • regulation
  • strategic thinking
  • career development
  • family financial planning

The course also introduces fundamental ideas in probability, statistics, and game theory that give deep insight into the world of risk and require only high-school level mathematics. In addition, the critical thinking skills you acquire in The Economics of Uncertainty have broad applications beyond economics. For example, the decision tree approach to problem solving, presented in Lecture 7, can come to the rescue whenever you need to find the optimum path to any goal, whether it is selecting your next vacation destination or choosing the best college options for your child.

Enjoy the Expertise of a Personal Advisor

Governments and large financial institutions rely on teams of experts to steer them through the perilous waters of uncertainty. In The Economics of Uncertainty, Professor Fullenkamp serves as your personal advisor, explaining in detail how uncertainty works and providing valuable tips such as these:

  • Think critically: Knowing the two types of probability—frequency-based and subjective—helps you judge the claims of people who appeal to probability to convince you to take a particular action.
  • Weigh risk vs. benefit: When you have to choose between risky alternatives, start from the least risky choice and decide how much extra risk you can tolerate for a given amount of increased benefit.
  • Mix it up: Since you can’t negotiate prices when shopping online, be unpredictable. Don’t always take the first price you’re offered. Put some items in your shopping cart and then log off without buying them.
  • Cultivate your career: Companies thrive by having a comparative advantage over their competitors. Do the same in your job by identifying what you do better than most people. Then cultivate that strength.

Learn How to Survive and Thrive

The trick to surviving and thriving in an uncertain economy is to know the sources of risk and how much of a threat they pose. It also helps to have a guide as experienced, eloquent, and engaging as Professor Fullenkamp, who, in his consulting work, has designed and led training courses for bankers and government officials for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. With The Economics of Uncertainty, it is your turn to experience his fascinating seminars, covering topics such as these:

  • Black swans: Popularized by best-selling author and risk analyst Nassim Taleb, a black swan is a rare, baffling event with great impact. Professor Fullenkamp analyzes the 2008 financial crisis in light of this intriguing theory.
  • Asymmetric information: Often one party in a transaction has a monopoly on information—for example, in a used car sale. Discover how this problem affects every sector of the economy through adverse selection and moral hazard.
  • Compensation: Getting a job done well is often a matter of how the payment is made and what performance incentives are offered. Evaluate the risks and rewards of several approaches to compensation contracts.
  • Gambling: Even if you’ve never bought a lottery ticket or set foot in a casino, you gamble every day. Learn how to address economic decisions with a seasoned gambler’s knack for separating good bets from bad.

One of the most important lessons about uncertainty is that it’s built into the world. At times, the economy may seem like it’s careening out of control, but we are simply living through the fluctuating uncertainties that have always been with us. There’s no reason to despair, since uncertainty is a phenomenon that can be understood and managed. “Knowledge is power,” says an old proverb. After taking this invaluable course, you’ll have the essential background to manage your economic life toward a more secure future.

Lectures:

  1. Man, Nature, and Economic Uncertainty
  2. Turning Uncertainty into Risk
  3. Five Ways to Face the Unknown
  4. Probability: Frequency or Belief?
  5. How We Misjudge Likelihood and Risk
  6. The Reward in Risk
  7. Decision Science Tools
  8. Gambling Economics
  9. Game Theory: Reveal or Conceal?
  10. Adverse Selection: Hiding in Plain Sight
  11. Moral Hazard: Whom Do You Trust?
  12. The Principal-Agent Problem: When Mice Play
  13. Compensation Traps
  14. Caring, Sharing, and Risk Bearing
  15. Mayhem! Insurance Protection
  16. Uncertainty in the Numbers
  17. The Business Cycle's Wheel of Fortune
  18. The Danger of Inflation
  19. Extreme Markets
  20. Regulation, Innovation, Excess
  21. Global Trade in Employment
  22. No Limits to Growth
  23. Hedging Business and Personal Risks
  24. Stress Testing Your Finances
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