Understanding the Misconceptions of Science [TTC Video]
26 June 2019, 11:46
Course No 1397 | MP4, AVC, 1370 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 7.81GB
Evolution. Relativity. The Big Bang. These and other scientific ideas have come to define our understanding of the modern world and how it works. But here’s a secret: What you learned about them in school isn’t necessarily the whole truth.
Science is, undeniably, a truly incredible field of human endeavor. In the last five centuries alone, we’ve been able to make startling advancements in human progress thanks to discoveries like electricity and magnetism, the germ theory of diseases, and the inner workings of atomic particles.
But for all its importance to our everyday lives, most of us who aren’t scientists don’t think too deeply about science. We settle for what we were taught in high school—and for the most part, that education was sound. Still, compromises had to be made, leaving most of us with conceptions of science that weren’t wrong, but also were just a piece of a larger, much more complex story. Misconceptions are even taught in fairly advanced science classes—and are still believed by people with quite respectable scientific educations.
Consider these commonly held scientific beliefs:
- Planetary orbits are fixed ellipses.
- We only use 10 percent of our brains.
- Nothing travels faster than light.
- A thrown object’s trajectory is a parabola.
They seem correct on the face of it, but they’re all misconceptions that aren’t entirely accurate. There’s much more to the story than you think. And Professor Don Lincoln, a Senior Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has crafted a magnificent 24-lecture course devoted to busting myths, clearing up confusion, and giving you scientific epiphanies that could change how you think about your everyday world. In Understanding the Misconceptions of Science, you’ll explore shocking truths about some of science’s most well-known—and often controversial—concepts, including the physics of flight, black holes, quantum mechanics, and even the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Ultimately, Professor Lincoln’s research-backed lectures offer newer, better, and more correct ways to understand what you were once taught.
Explore Misconceptions in Biology, Chemistry, and Beyond
“Science,” Professor Lincoln says, “is built on facts, sure. But it’s also a methodology for determining and accepting—or rejecting—those facts. And inherent in science is a perpetual level of uncertainty and ignorance. Science has to be prepared to change and grow.”
This ever-evolving nature of scientific knowledge and understanding is at the heart of Understanding the Misconceptions of Science. Professor Lincoln has structured this course as a broad survey that assumes little prior knowledge of the fields being covered, which includes chemistry, physics, biology, quantum mechanics, astronomy, mathematics, and more.
Almost every lecture is devoted to a single major scientific concept or discovery that is often misunderstood or over-simplified. At the start of the lecture, Professor Lincoln highlights how that particular misconception is commonly taught to students. Then, he takes you on a deep dive into how the science really works, and how recent discoveries and advances have reframed—and in some instances, shattered—commonly held ideas.The result is a course that not only opens your eyes to just how large and mind-bending science is, but that can also spark a curiosity to investigate further.
Discover a Host of Scientific Epiphanies
What makes Understanding the Misconceptions of Science such an entertaining and engaging learning experience are the “aha!” moments packed into every lecture. Delivered with insight, clarity, and a dash of humor, these and other of Professor Lincoln’s scientific epiphanies will have you rethinking what you know—or thought you knew—about the world of science.
- A (Less Than) Ideal Gas Law. The ideal gas law describes the relationship between pressure, volume, temperature, and the number of moles of molecules for an ideal gas. There’s just one problem: gases aren’t ideal. That’s where the helpful—and slightly more complex—van der Waals equation comes in.
- Portrait of an Electron. We tend to think of electrons in an atom orbiting the nucleus like planets around a star. The scientific reality, however, is that electrons are simultaneously everywhere the laws of quantum mechanics allow. The truth is that most matter is just empty space, and what you’re made of aren’t simple spheres—but force fields.
- Think outside the Punnett Square. Most human characteristics aren’t governed by a single gene. Take eye color, for example. As it happens, there are two important genes dealing with eye color, along with 10 other genes that play a minor role. Plus, the idea that dominant traits will be the most common (and recessive traits the rarest) is wrong.
- Less Bomb, More Balloon. During the Big Bang, all the energy and matter of the universe wasn’t just sitting somewhere in space and then blew up. Rather, because matter and energy and space and time are interlinked, there was a tiny volume that wasn’t a singularity that expanded into our visible universe more like an expanding balloon.
- Use Your (Whole) Brain. No, we don’t use just 10 percent of our brain, and a big reason is evolution. The brain uses about 20 percent of the energy consumed by metabolism, in spite of being only about 2 percent of the body’s mass. If 90 percent of the brain were not used, there would be a huge evolutionary pressure to reduce the size of brains and skulls.
- Floating or Falling in Space. While you may see video clips of astronauts in the International Space Station doing flips and all sorts of things, the truth is that they’re not floating in zero gravity. The correct word we should be using to describe the state in which these astronauts are working and playing in is, rather, “free fall,” and the difference is more significant than you may think.
Along the way, you’ll develop a sharper understanding of some of the most fundamental concepts, equations, theories, and issues in contemporary science, including:
- Faraday cages, metal shapes that help protect what’s inside from electrical charges and which are used to understand what happens when lightning strikes a car;
- The Bernoulli equation, developed to better understand the laws of motion of fluids and also used (incorrectly) to explain how planes fly;
- The twin paradox, the most famous paradox in special relativity that bundles together a pair of twins to study space travel, time dilation, aging, and movement;
- Carbon-14 dating, a scientific method for piecing together how long ago something happened that’s actually a more complex process than it might seem; and
- The Drake equation, which can provide an estimate of the number of civilizations in our galaxy that we could detect—but which also neglects important parameters.
Gain an Awareness for the Immensity of Science
As with many of our other science courses, Understanding the Misconceptions of Science takes a welcoming, introductory approach to topics and issues that might seem intimidating to the average non-scientist.
Professor Lincoln goes to great lengths to make his expertise accessible to everyone willing to open their mind to the possibility that what they think they know about science isn’t the whole truth. To that end, he’s crafted these lectures to include helpful graphics, animations, images, equations, and scientific terms that help you make better sense of what’s being discussed.
But what will keep you engaged, above all, is the energy and excitement of Professor Lincoln’s lectures. He’s an expert public speaker, dedicated to scientific outreach and education—efforts which have earned him the 2017 Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics.
Understanding the Misconceptions of Science is about awareness and respect for what an immense undertaking scientific inquiry and experimentation is. “The real message here is just how little we know,” he says. “Science popularizations are entirely misleading on where we are in this effort. This isn’t to minimize our accomplishments. We’ve come a long way. But we have even further to go.”
Regardless of where you are in your own scientific adventures, this course will empower you with not just good science—but better science.
A New History of the American South [TTC Video]
17 June 2019, 12:47
Course No. 8388 | MP4, AVC, 13703 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 1280 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.89GB
The American South holds a special place in the minds of people around the world. The South’s extraordinarily colorful and dramatic history, its competing narratives of prosperity and cruelty, its role in the American Civil War, and its influence on the emerging conception of human rights are, for many, the stuff of legend.
Yet, misconceptions and incomplete information abound about the South, concerning not only its origins and development, but also its interconnections with the Northern states, its place in the larger scope of world history, and its repercussions for our own era.
To know the history of the American South, within its own context, is to come to terms with one of modern history’s most astonishing, polarizing, and illuminating stories:
- Within just a few decades after the American Revolution, the South grew into a major force in the world economy, as the largest and most powerful slave-based society of the modern world;
- The political, philosophical, and moral conflicts that surrounded the South’s vast prosperity triggered a war of global consequence;
- The South’s tumultuous remaking following the Civil War witnessed both the boldest experiment in expanding democracy and the largest political revolt in American history; and
- The Southern experience of defeat and regeneration resulted in a globe-spanning legacy of cultural, religious, and artistic expression.
In the 24 lectures of A New History of the American South, taught by an award-winning professor, Edward L. Ayers of the University of Richmond, you’ll delve into these remarkable stories, and many more, exploring in detail the rise and the fall of the slave South, and examining the full scope of a historical epoch that still profoundly influences life in the United States today.
Rediscover the American South
In these eye-opening lectures, you’ll track the historical forces that created the Southern U.S. colonies, how the colonies’ political and economic structures became conducive to the importation of slavery, and how, within the new American nation, the South became one of the most powerful exponents of the Atlantic slave trade.
You’ll trace the growth and evolution of the South, as its archaic system of slavery fused with the trappings of modernity to create a society that was one of the most prosperous and politically democratic in the world—for some—yet home to one of the cruelest forms of oppression for others.
In the flush of its prosperity, you’ll witness the South gamble everything on a bid to create its own nation, leading to devastating war, and the profound changes of emancipation and Reconstruction, events that transformed the South in ways that could never have been foreseen.And, you’ll study the new society that rose from the ashes of the slave South, a society fraught with violent divisions over what the New South would be, and presenting new and crippling challenges to emancipated African Americans, as well as giving birth to some of America’s most enduring contributions to world culture, such as jazz, blues, country, and gospel music; Pentecostal religion; and the writings of Mark Twain and W.E.B. DuBois.
Enjoy Teaching of Rare Understanding and Insight
A distinguished scholar of the American South and of 19th-century American history, Professor Ayers is unusually well qualified to tell this story. A native of the South who has resided and studied in the North, Professor Ayers distills the narrative with nuanced insight into the ethos and the actions of both.
As an ongoing thread of the course, Professor Ayers uncovers the mindset of the advocates of slavery and segregation, and how the practices were rationalized and justified in terms encompassing the economic, theological, secular, political, and cultural. Along the way, his commentary highlights the factors of anti-slavery and anti-secession sentiment in the South, as well as the varieties of complicity in slavery in the North. The result is a revelatory look at Southern history, and at the critical events and historical currents that made the South what it is today.
Travel Deeply into a Seminal Era
In assessing the story of the South, you’ll focus on the period from the founding of the Southern colonies to the beginning of the 20th century, highlighting essential topics such as:
- The Atlantic Slave Trade: Discover how the Atlantic slave trade, initiated by the Portuguese with the sanction of the Pope, was facilitated by African social systems in which both goods and human beings were items of exchange; learn about the mechanics of the slave trade, and how unimaginable wealth was created in the slave economies of the Caribbean;
- The Forging of the Slave South: Follow the settling of the Southern colonies, and the economic conditions within Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia that made slavery a profitable business model; see how the slave economy expanded following the American Revolution, and how wars against both Native Americans and escaped slaves created solidarity among white Southerners;
- Southern Prosperity and Culture: Witness the creation of the large-scale cotton economy that emblemized the South, and the remarkable wealth and lifestyles of plantation owners; learn how the enslaved lived and worked, the diversity of slaves’ occupations on plantations and within cities, and the ways in which slaves rebelled against a dehumanizing system;
- Breakdown of the Union: Examine the events that marked the disintegrating relations between North and South, from the emancipation of the Northern states and the rise of antislavery and abolition movements to the heated struggles over slavery within Missouri, Kansas, and former Mexican lands, and the divisive presidential election of 1860;
- Emancipation and the Experiment of Reconstruction: Learn how African Americans responded to emancipation in their quest for fundamental rights; relive the era of Reconstruction, and the bitter conflict between the North’s efforts to remake the South and white Southerners’ actions to reassert the power they held before the war; and
- Segregation and the New South: Observe how political and legal means were employed across the postwar South to separate the races and maintain white supremacy; study the variety of social restrictions and violence that characterized African American life following Reconstruction; and learn how modern agriculture and industry transformed life in the New South.
Gain a Discerning Perspective on History
Professor Ayers brings to these lectures the same compelling style as a speaker that has made him a nationally recognized co-host of the history podcast BackStory. Throughout the course, he adds layers of revealing context and detail that aid in comprehending the extraordinary saga of the South.
In tracing the complexities of North/South relations, he reveals that Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence vigorously denounced slavery, and that the Congress of the new nation both gave substantial concessions to slaveholders and worked to limit slavery’s geographical scope.
As the course progresses, you’ll explore the vital role of religious faith in Southern culture, learning how evangelical Christianity offered disparate benefits for black and white Southerners, and later became a major social force within the New South. And, within the landscape of the New South, you’ll follow the process by which Southern musical culture, encompassing genres such as blues, jazz, gospel, and country music, became a globally impactful form of expression.
In A New History of the American South, you’ll take a richly detailed excursion into the story and the enduring legacy of the South, in a historical inquiry unique in its scope. No book and no other course brings together the development of the slave South, the wartime South, the reconstructed South, and the New South as Professor Ayers does in these enthralling and incisive lectures. In Professor Ayers’s words, “We cannot understand the United States if we do not understand the South, which has played such an outsized role in the history of our country.”
The Great Tours: Washington DC [TTC Video]
16 June 2019, 02:14
Course No 8609 | MP4, AVC, 2500 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 18.73GB
As a political epicenter, Washington DC is a major national and international crossroads, attracting visitors from all corners of the Earth and being featured in the global news on a daily basis. But beyond the glamour and glare of high-profile politics, it is a city on par with some of the greatest in the world, brimming over with remarkable history and culture, and offering a multitude of unforgettable sights and experiences.
Throughout this intriguing city, you’ll find some of the world’s most beautiful and extraordinary national monuments—of which the iconic Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are only the beginning. You’ll also find some of the world’s finest museums of history, science, and art, from the phenomenal Smithsonian museums to the National Gallery of Art, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and more. You will experience masterpieces of civic architecture such as the National Mall and the Library of Congress, as well as monumental government facilities, from the U.S. Capitol to the State and Treasury Departments. Along the way, you will also encounter beautifully landscaped parks and gardens; a wealth of extraordinary historic homes; a rich and varied performing arts, entertainment, and culinary scene; and innumerable lesser-known focal points to surprise and delight.
Now, in The Great Tours: Washington DC, The Great Courses partners once again with the Smithsonian, the nation’s premier repository of U.S. history and world culture, to bring you a deep and multi-faceted look at this amazing city.
With this course, you will get to know Washington DC and the spectrum of treasures it contains. Your in-depth experience will allow you to better appreciate:
- A one-of-a-kind urban environment containing stunning public buildings, works, and spaces;
- The American people’s historical efforts to embody the U.S. Constitution and our founder’s ideals;
- A thoroughly remarkable window into modern history;
- The history, the workings, and the dimensions of our government in action; and
- A vibrant, cosmopolitan city that resonates with people from all nations and cultures, as well as an intimately livable city that 700,000 people call home, and 5 million in the Metro region regularly enjoy.
Discover Washington DC through the Expertise of the Smithsonian
This exciting 24-part travelogue—lavishly illustrated with thousands of historic images, animated maps, and substantial location footage—rests on the vast historical and administrative resources of the Smithsonian, and on the brilliant and engaging commentary of Dr. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large. Dr. Kurin brings both his 40 years of experience at the Smithsonian—overseeing most of the institution’s national museums, libraries, and archives—and his own decades of exploration of his beloved home city to these content-rich videos.
In this unique, insider’s tour of Washington, Dr. Kurin leads you on a dazzling journey through the many layers of history and human endeavor that created DC’s extraordinary urban environment. Along the way, he takes you beyond the most visible and well-known sites to uncover hidden gems that visitors usually don’t know about, offering fascinating perspectives on DC’s history, from the 18th-century origins of the District of Columbia to the 21st-century city we know today. Throughout the course, lectures are arranged by site and activity, making it easy to go directly to specific subject matter or special interests.
Dr. Kurin rounds out your view of DC with a series of special interviews with expert guests interspersed throughout the lectures, drawing on his remarkable resources and contacts developed over a four-decade-long career. Among others, you’ll get special insight into the meaning of military memorials from General Colin Powell himself, look into the Kennedy Center and arts in Washington with renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma, and explore the relationship of food and American history with celebrated chef José Andrés.
Legendary Sights and Hidden Treasures
In a comprehensive view of the city and its history, you’ll delve into the incredible range of Washington’s riches, including:
- Landmarks and Departments of the U.S. Government. Make a detailed visit to the White House, taking account of its construction, rebuilding, and dramatic history. Take in the architectural magnificence of the U.S. Capitol building, and visit its legislative chambers. Dig into the history, lore, and imposing facilities of the Supreme Court; the spectacular Library of Congress; the departments of State, Treasury, and Justice; and the unmissable National Archives;
- Majestic Monuments and Memorials. Among DC’s most revered sights, visit and study the background of the great presidential memorials to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Explore the National Mall’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and its particular significance, and contemplate the meanings of the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the extraordinary memorials at Arlington National Cemetery;
- A Spectrum of World-Class Museums. Within the city’s astounding wealth of museums, learn about the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of African American History and Culture, among others. Explore the artistic splendors of the National Portrait Gallery; The Phillips Collection; and the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens; and sample the wonders of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park;
- Lesser-Known Historic Gems. Discover a range of extraordinary sites overlooked even by many locals. Among these, visit the historic mansion of General Robert E. Lee, uncover the history of Abraham Lincoln’s “summer White House,” study the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass at his preserved home, learn about presidential connections with the historic Willard Hotel, and visit locations associated with humanitarian and Red Cross founder Clara Barton.
- Storied Neighborhoods and Homes. Venture beyond the famous sights to explore DC’s colorful and elegant neighborhoods: Savor the architecture and cultural richness of Embassy Row; the revitalized DC waterfront; and the neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, historic Georgetown, and nearby Alexandria, Virginia. Get to know George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and other grand mansions, plantations, and humble homes that memorably reveal the city’s history.
Experience the Numerous Facets of This Living City
In the course’s second half, Dr. Kurin takes the tour far beyond politics and history, to give you a vivid view of contemporary Washington and its wide range of appealing activities, events, and lifestyle choices. Within these, you’ll explore DC’s:
- Arts and Entertainment Scene:Review the huge diversity of Washington’s performing arts offerings, spanning the multi-venue Kennedy Center; a plethora of distinguished live theater and dance; and seemingly countless music venues offering live performances of popular, classical, and world music.
- Dining and Food Culture: Learn about DC’s traditional food culture, historic restaurants, contemporary fine-dining options, food festivals, and wide array of world cuisines.
- Sports:Investigate the lore of DC’s sports teams, past and present, and find out where to see (and play) sports from baseball, football, and basketball to imports such as rugby, Gaelic football, and cricket.
- Outdoor Activities:Discover DC’s many nature sites, and note Dr. Kurin’s suggestions for where to enjoy beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and outdoor pursuits from hiking and boating to nature and heritage sites.
In these visually sumptuous lectures, Dr. Kurin and the Smithsonian profile the diversity and the many layers of Washington DC—as a beloved national symbol; a vital seat of government; and a living, thriving metropolis. Whether you’re planning your own visit to Washington or would simply like to explore the nation’s capital from where you are, The Great Tours: Washington DC offers you a detailed, insider’s view of one of the world’s most exciting and culturally rich cities.