Building a Better Vocabulary [TTC Video]

Building a Better Vocabulary [TTC Video]
Building a Better Vocabulary [TTC Video] by Kevin Flanigan
Course No 9373 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | English, AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 17.3GB

What does the word bombast have to do with cushion stuffing? What is the difference between specious and spurious? Would you want someone to call you a snollygoster?

The hallmark of a powerful vocabulary is not simply knowing many words; rather, it’s knowing the exact word to use in a specific context or situation. A great vocabulary can enhance your speaking, writing, and even thinking skills. This course will boost your vocabulary, whether you want to enhance your personal lexicon, write or speak more articulately in professional settings, or advance your knowledge of the English language. For anyone who has ever grasped for the perfect word at a particular moment, this course provides a research-based and enjoyable method for improving your vocabulary.

Building a Better Vocabulary,taught by Professor Kevin Flanigan of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, offers an intriguing look at the nuts and bolts of English, teaches you the etymology (history) and morphology (structure) of words, and delves into the cognitive science behind committing new words to long-term memory.

Any lifelong learner can build a better vocabulary with these engaging lectures, but they will be particularly useful for:

  • readers who want a greater appreciation of literature;
  • writers or speakers seeking the “just right” word;
  • those who are intellectually curious about language and linguistics;
  • students studying for college entrance exams; and
  • anyone looking to boost their working vocabulary.

By the end of the course, you will have a practical framework for continuing to build your vocabulary by discovering new words and fully mastering the nuances of familiar ones.

Harness the Way Your Brain Learns Language

Research in cognitive psychology informs Professor Flanigan’s methods for teaching vocabulary. These methods apply whether the student is a new reader, a struggling student, a person learning English as a second language, or an intellectual looking to expand his or her vocabulary.

In particular, you will learn about the five core principles of effective vocabulary learning, as illustrated here with the word factotum.

  • Clear definitions: A factotum is someone hired to do a variety of jobs, someone who has many different responsibilities, or a jack-of-all-trades.
  • Rich context: Batman’s butler, Alfred, is a factotum. He keeps the affairs of the Wayne estate in order, maintains and repairs the Batmobile, and even offers his employer sage advice.
  • Personal connections: Think of a person in your life who is a jack-of-all-trades. When you think of the word factotum, attach it to a memory of this person.
  • Exploring the morphology: The root fac is from the Latin verb facio, meaning “to make or do” and the Latin word totum means “all.” Thus, a factotum is literally someone who can do it all.
  • Semantic chunking: Schema are your brain’s “file folders” which link your newly-learned word to things you already know. Connect your new word, factotum, with familiar people, as well as words that share the fac root, such as factory and manufacture.

To aid in providing clear definitions, rich context, personal connections, morphology, and schema development, Professor Flanigan organizes these lectures by theme. This allows you to fully understand the differences between closely related synonyms and gives your brain the opportunity to create connections and file new words in long-term memory.

You’ll learn a vast array of words about:

  • love and hate,
  • trustworthy people and liars,
  • war and peace,
  • praise and criticism,
  • breaking and joining, and much more.

You will supplement the robust information included in the course guidebook with your own vocabulary notebook, where you can jot down personal connections to each word to further cement your knowledge.

Go Beyond the Dictionary

Cognitive scientists have proven that the brain is hard-wired to remember stories. We find it easier to remember information presented as a story than as a list of facts. Learning etymological narratives—or stories about the history of words—leverages this powerful vocabulary learning tool.

  • Fighting words: Donnybrook, Ireland was known for its annual fair... and the drunken, riotous brawls that occurred there each year. When you want to describe a raucous and violent confrontation, donnybrook is the perfect word.
  • From literal to figurative: In the 16th century, bombast referred to cotton stuffing for cushions. Today, the word refers to “fluffy” speech or writing that doesn’t offer any substance.
  • Footlong words: Sesquipedalian, an adjective that means “given to the overuse of long words,” was inspired by the Roman poet, Horace, who often criticized others for using long, pompous-sounding words. He used the phrase sesquipedalia verba—literally “words a foot and a half long.”

A large part of a word’s etymology is its morphology, including the Latin or Greek roots from which it sprang. Approximately 70% of English vocabulary is derived from Latin or Greek affixes or roots, and the number increases to over 90% for scientific jargon. These fascinating lectures delve into affixes and roots from Latin and Greek, as well as words that English borrowed from other languages, including German, Yiddish, Japanese, Gaelic, the romance languages, and more.

If you are an avid reader, you may have previously encountered some of the words in this course. But even the most voracious reader will be surprised and delighted by these eye-opening lectures, which delve into the building blocks of the English language and reveal intriguing new nuances to words you thought you knew well.

Activities to Test Your Knowledge

Professor Flanigan’s expert instruction helps you build vocabulary knowledge that is broad, deep, and flexible. By the end of these 36 fascinating lectures, you should:

  • be familiar with more words,
  • know the differences between similar words for the same concept,
  • be able to make connections between new words and familiar ones,
  • be better able to infer a word’s meanings from its morphology and context, and
  • apply new words confidently when you speak or write.

Vocabulary games can help achieve these goals—and they are fun whether you are testing your knowledge alone or competing with friends or family members. They are particularly helpful with creating a flexible vocabulary, as they provide opportunities to use and think about words in novel and creative ways.

  • Riddles: Learn a clever game that pairs a rhyming answer comprised of familiar words to a question full of sophisticated—perhaps even sesquipedalian—ones.
  • Clue Review: Sit in the “hot seat” and test your knowledge with a partner. The hard part? Both of you must know the word and its definition to win!
  • Taboo: This popular game has a lot in common with effective strategies for vocabulary learners. Taboo will have you thinking flexibly, making connections, using synonyms, antonyms, and related words—and improving your vocabulary while having fun.

Experience the Joy of Words

In the words of the Greek historian Plutarch, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” The goal of Building a Better Vocabulary, then, is not to cram your mind with new words, but to kindle a passion for the process by which words are created and the beauty of the words you read, speak, and hear every day. These 36 lectures will certainly set your mind ablaze and change the way you experience the world.

Professor Flanigan’s approach to learning vocabulary makes each lecture a joy to experience. As a former reading specialist and literacy coach, he understands the cognitive science behind language acquisition and is able to present each new word in a way that makes it immediately memorable.

But more importantly, he teaches you these tips and strategies so you can apply them whenever you learn a new word. By the end of the course, you’ll have a vocabulary notebook filled with valuable notes, sketches, stories, and strategies—and you’ll be eager to start reading and update it with new words you encounter.

As you may have already guessed, you would not want to be called a snollygoster; it is an antiquated term of contempt for a shrewd, unscrupulous person.


  1. Five Principles for Learning Vocabulary
  2. The Spelling-Meaning Connection
  3. Words for Lying, Swindling, and Conniving
  4. Words That Express Annoyance and Disgust
  5. Fighting Words and Peaceful Words
  6. Going beyond Dictionary Meanings
  7. Wicked Words
  8. Words for Beginnings and Endings
  9. Words Expressing Fear, Love, and Hatred
  10. Words for the Everyday and the Elite
  11. Words from Gods and Heroes
  12. Humble Words and Prideful Words
  13. High-Frequency Greek and Latin Roots
  14. Words Relating to Belief and Trust
  15. Words for the Way We Talk
  16. Words for Praise, Criticism, and Nonsense
  17. Eponyms from Literature and History
  18. Thinking, Teaching, and Learning Words
  19. Words for the Diligent and the Lazy
  20. Words That Break and Words That Join
  21. Some High-Utility Greek and Latin Affixes
  22. Cranky Words and Cool Words
  23. Words for Courage and Cowardice
  24. Reviewing Vocabulary through Literature
  25. Words for Killing and Cutting
  26. A Vocabulary Grab Bag
  27. Words for Words
  28. Specialty Words for Language
  29. Nasty Words and Nice Words
  30. Words for the Really Big and the Very Small
  31. Spelling as a Vocabulary Tool
  32. A Medley of New Words
  33. Building Vocabulary through Games
  34. Words English Borrowed and Never Returned
  35. More Foreign Loan Words
  36. Forgotten Words and Neologisms

An Introduction to Number Theory [TTC Video]

An Introduction to Number Theory [TTC Video]
An Introduction to Number Theory [TTC Video] by Edward B Burger
Course No 1495 | AVI, XviD, 1206 kbps, 624x480 | English, MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 6.63GB

How could an ancient king be tricked into giving his servant more than 671 billion tons of rice? It's all due to a simple but powerful calculation involving the sum of geometric progression -- an important concept in number theory and just one of the fascinating concepts you'll encounter in An Introduction to Number Theory. Taught by veteran Teaching Company instructor Edward B. Burger, this 24-lecture course offers an exciting adventure into the world of numbers.

An Introduction to Number Theory is a great introduction to the field for anyone who loves numbers, is fascinated by math, and wants to go further into the relationships among these mysterious objects.

What Is Number Theory?

Called "the queen of mathematics" by the legendary mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, number theory is one of the oldest and largest branches of pure mathematics. Practitioners of number theory delve deep into the structure and nature of numbers, and explore the remarkable, often beautiful relationships among them.

In this course, you'll cover all the fundamentals of this exciting discipline and explore the many different types of numbers:

  • Natural numbers
  • Prime numbers
  • Integers
  • Negative and irrational numbers
  • Algebraic numbers
  • Imaginary numbers
  • Transcendental numbers

But in An Introduction to Number Theory, you'll also develop a deeper understanding of their nature and the relationships among them, and gain insights into the many branches of number theory, including:

  • Elementary number theory, an exploration of the fundamental patterns involving the natural numbers
  • Analytic number theory, which uses the techniques of calculus to establish its results, and focuses on the prime numbers and their patterns
  • Algebraic number theory, which relies on arithmetic—the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division—to find solutions to equations
  • Algebraic geometry, a combination of algebra and geometry which reveals the important connection between solutions to certain equations and points on certain curves.

An Intriguing Landscape of Calculation

Using brain-teasing problems and fascinating anecdotes, Professor Burger offers deep insights into the complex and beautiful patterns that structure the world of numbers. For example, you'll encounter:

  • The sieve of Eratosthenes: A simple but brilliant method for "sifting out" all the prime numbers within any sequence of natural numbers
  • The golden ratio: A mysterious and powerful number that recurs throughout the natural and scientific worlds, and is believed by some to hold the key to aesthetic beauty
  • The method of modular arithmetic: An alternative way of counting that focuses on remainders rather than quotients to open up new possibilities for the manipulation of numbers
  • The relationship between algebra and geometry: Exactly how does an algebraic formula correspond to a line or curve? What can we understand about these two mathematical entities?

Number Theory in Everyday Life

You'll quickly see that number theory—though complex and intellectually challenging—is no "ivory tower" endeavor. Throughout the course, Professor Burger answers intriguing questions about how the work of number theorists touches our daily lives:

  • How do modern computers "talk" to each other through vast remote networks?
  • What technologies lay behind crucial security procedures, such as the encryption used when you pay with a credit card on an e-commerce website?
  • How do the puzzling numbers found on everyday consumer products—the UPC labels, or bar codes—allow you to move quickly and easily through the check-out stand at the local market?
  • Why does the chromatic musical scale include 12 notes?
  • What is the meaning of the mysterious bank routing numbers on checks? How do they provide a way to identify specific bank accounts?

Mathematical Proofs: The Agony and the Ecstasy

You'll also experience the exhilarating but often heartbreaking process of mathematical proof. In creating a proof, a mathematician is at once akin to the lawyer and the artist, constructing logical structures that deduce newly discovered truths from previously accepted premises.

While some mathematical problems readily yield proofs, others prove to be more intractable. In this course, you'll hear about the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of great minds as they attempted to solve some of the most vexing "open questions" that have tickled the curiosity of mathematicians for centuries.

Consider, for example, the quest of Andrew Wiles. Since childhood, he dedicated himself to finding a proof to one of the most notorious open questions in mathematics, Fermat's last theorem. Professor Burger follows Wiles's frustrating disappointments and miraculous breakthrough in proving this elusive theorem. It's a story that demonstrates the discipline, mental acuity, and remarkable creativity required to establish new areas of knowledge.

And you'll learn about some of the open questions that remain, including the Collatz conjecture, a tricky puzzle for which the great 20th-century Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös offered to pay $500 to anyone who could provide a solution.

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

These are the kinds of mathematical puzzles that make An Introduction to Number Theory a treat for anyone who loves numbers. While the course requires confidence with basic math concepts, Professor Burger provides clear and effective guidance for students at all levels.

With each tantalizing problem, Professor Burger begins with an overview of the high-level concepts. Next, he provides a step-by-step explanation of the formulas and calculations that lay at the heart of each conundrum. Through clear explanations, entertaining anecdotes, and enlightening demonstrations, Professor Burger makes this intriguing field of study accessible for anyone who appreciates the fascinating nature of numbers.

And while the course is demanding, you'll soon find that An Introduction to Number Theory offers rewards that are equal to its tests. Through the study of number theory, you'll experience an enlightened perspective on the world around us. As Professor Burger says of number theory: "Great secrets and structures lie close by, to be uncovered only if we open our imagination to all possibilities."


  1. Number Theory and Mathematical Research
  2. Natural Numbers and Their Personalities
  3. Triangular Numbers and Their Progressions
  4. Geometric Progressions, Exponential Growth
  5. Recurrence Sequences
  6. The Binet Formula and the Towers of Hanoi
  7. The Classical Theory of Prime Numbers
  8. Euler's Product Formula and Divisibility
  9. The Prime Number Theorem and Riemann
  10. Division Algorithm and Modular Arithmetic
  11. Cryptography and Fermat's Little Theorem
  12. The RSA Encryption Scheme
  13. Fermat's Method of Ascent
  14. Fermat's Last Theorem
  15. Factorization and Algebraic Number Theory
  16. Pythagorean Triples
  17. An Introduction to Algebraic Geometry
  18. The Complex Structure of Elliptic Curves
  19. The Abundance of Irrational Numbers
  20. Transcending the Algebraic Numbers
  21. Diophantine Approximation
  22. Writing Real Numbers as Continued Fractions
  23. Applications Involving Continued Fractions
  24. A Journey's End and the Journey Ahead

The Higgs Boson and Beyond [TTC Video]

The Higgs Boson and Beyond [TTC Video]
The Higgs Boson and Beyond [TTC Video] by Sean Carroll
2015 | Course No 1205 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.87GB

The search for, and ultimate discovery of, the Higgs boson is a triumph of modern physics—a global, half-century effort whose outcome would make or break the vaunted Standard Model of particle physics. The hunt for the Higgs was the subject of wide media attention due to the cost of the project, the complexity of the experiment, and the importance of its result. And, when it was announced with great fanfare in 2012 that physicists has succeeded in creating and identifying this all-important new particle, the discovery was justly celebrated around the world.

And yet, virtually no one who happily read that news could tell you what, exactly, the Higgs boson was, and why its discovery was so important that we had to spend 10 billion dollars and build the single largest and most complex device in the history of mankind in order to find it. When you truly understand the details, this story ranks as one of the most fascinating, important, and thrilling in the history of modern physics.

Now, in The Higgs Boson and Beyond, award-winning theoretical physicist Sean Carroll returns to The Great Courses to guide you through the details of this incredible story. A brilliant researcher working at the very forefront of physics, as well as a gifted speaker who excels in explaining difficult and esoteric scientific concepts to the public, Professor Carroll is perfectly positioned to tell this story. In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this scientific discovery, including:

  • the basics of quantum mechanics;
  • the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics;
  • how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and
  • the importance of symmetry in physics.

In addition, Professor Carroll offers an in-depth view of the Large Hadron Collider—the largest machine ever built, and the device responsible for finally revealing the concept of the Higgs boson as reality. By the end, you’ll understand how the Higgs boson verifies the final piece in the Standard Model of particle physics, and how its discovery validates and deepens our understanding of the universe.

A Discovery of Mass Importance

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Higgs field to the structure of our world and the universe itself. First postulated to exist in 1964 by Peter Higgs, the Higgs field and the particle associated with it explain one of the most fundamental concepts of reality itself—how elementary particles get mass. In addition, the discovery of the Higgs boson has importance for a huge number of unanswered questions and exciting avenues of research in modern physics, including:

  • insight into the nature of the universe and its ultimate fate;
  • the existence of scalar fields—fields with a zero "spin" that, prior to the discovery of the Higgs field, were only theoretical in nature;
  • insight into cosmic inflation—a theory that describes exponential expansion of space during the first few moments of the universe;
  • new understandings of how symmetry and symmetry breaking works; and
  • new approaches to understanding dark matter and possible extra dimensions.

In addition, you'll come to understand how the Large Hadron Collider, which was built specifically for the task of creating a Higgs boson, has immense value in future experiments in physics.

A Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Professor Carroll's Higgs Boson and Beyond is a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Produced on a virtual set, the course utilized purpose-built graphics and 3-D models as an incredible aid to understanding the material, allowing somewhat abstract and unusual concepts to be clearly rendered before your eyes. This is an experience like no other, a presentation beyond anything that you could experience in a traditional classroom.

A theoretical physicist of significant standing in the scientific community, Professor Carroll followed the hunt for the Higgs boson with rapt attention and was present at CERN on the day they announced the discovery. Between his access to the researchers working on the project, and his expertise in modern physics, he has a uniquely clear view of the subject. He also has an exceptional ability to explain complex scientific concepts in a way that makes them clear and comprehensible to any motivated learner. All of these factors make Professor Carroll the perfect guide to this complex and rewarding story.

The Higgs Boson and Beyond will expand your understanding of the universe by taking you on a tour of its most fundamental components. With the insightful guidance of Professor Carroll, you’ll soon be able to understand one of the most important discoveries of our age.


  1. The Importance of the Higgs Boson
  2. Quantum Field Theory
  3. Atoms to Particles
  4. The Power of Symmetry
  5. The Higgs Field
  6. Mass and Energy
  7. Colliding Particles
  8. Particle Accelerators and Detectors
  9. The Large Hadron Collider
  10. Capturing the Higgs Boson
  11. Beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics
  12. Frontiers: Higgs in Space
pages: 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121
*100: 100