The Joy of Science [TTC Video]
31 October 2016, 17:43
Course No 1100 | AVI, XviD, 512x384 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 60x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 15.75GB
English novelist and scientist C. P. Snow classed certain scientific ideas with the works of Shakespeare as something every educated person should know. One such idea, according to Snow, was the second law of thermodynamics, which deals with the diffusion of heat and has many profound consequences. He might well have added Newton's laws, the periodic table of elements, the double-helix structure of DNA, and scores of other masterpieces of scientific discovery.
Now, Professor Robert M. Hazen introduces these and other great ideas in 60 lectures that explore the fundamental discoveries and principles of all of the physical and biological sciences—physics, genetics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, thermodynamics, and more.
A Passion for Teaching and Science
Professor Hazen is an apostle of science education for non-scientists, and he has few peers at rendering the most complex ideas simple, without being simplistic.
"I have a passion as a teacher," he says, "and that passion is to share with you the joy of science, the astonishing discoveries, the mind-bending insights, and the transforming applications of science as well."
A research scientist, professor, and advisor to public television's NOVA science series, Dr. Hazen helped draft the National Science Education Standards (National Academy of Sciences, 1997). These Standards represent a consensus among thousands of scientists and educators regarding the most effective approaches for teaching and learning about science.
These lectures have been specifically designed to introduce and review all of the scientific principles that are included in the Content Standards portion of the National Science Education Standards.
The result is a comprehensive and integrated introduction to all of science. By devoting just 30 minutes a day, you can complete this entire course in two months and discover an enhanced understanding of the physical world that will be a source of endless wonder and intellectual joy.
A Special Learning Opportunity
This course offers a special learning opportunity because:
- It steers clear of the jargon and mathematical abstractions that so often bedevil science education.
- It features an integrated approach that allows you as a learner to transcend artificial disciplinary boundaries in order to gain a panoramic view of the whole scientific enterprise in all its breathtaking scope.
The key to these achievements is Professor Hazen's insight that only a course organized around the common principles of scientific inquiry can put science in its proper light as a unique way of knowing.
Four Reasons to Become Scientifically Literate
Dr. Hazen cites four reasons why you should strive to become scientifically literate:
- Scientific literacy helps you as a consumer make informed decisions—about health care, diet, nutrition, exercise, environmental issues, and the plethora of technological choices that we all face.
- Many of today's jobs depend directly or indirectly on science as well as on technologies that are developed from scientific discoveries.
- Scientific literacy helps you provide your children with a firm foundation as they study science in school.
- Learning about science allows you to share the joy of humanity's greatest ongoing adventure of discovery and exploration.
What You'll Learn
Part I Highlights (Lectures 1–12):
Dr. Hazen begins by explaining the four-step cycle that defines the "scientific method" of knowing. He introduces you to five pivotal figures in early-modern science: Nicolas Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton. Astoundingly, during a single rural sojourn in 1665–66, Newton discovered calculus, many of the basic laws of optics, the three laws of motion, and the law of gravity. Newton's discoveries unified the supposedly separate domains of terrestrial and celestial motions.
Part II Highlights (Lectures 13–24):
Dr. Hazen introduces you to H. C. Oersted, the little-known figure who paved the way for a revolution in technology with his finding that electricity can produce a magnetic field. Out of this discovery came the electromagnet, the telegraph, the telephone, the electric motor, the generator, and many other inventions. You will also learn how James Clerk Maxwell offered the first mathematically rigorous description of the close connection between electricity and magnetism—and how Einstein, pondering a paradox that arose from Maxwell's equations, proposed and explored the principle of relativity.
Dr. Hazen shifts the focus of his lectures to the nature of matter, paying particular attention to atoms and quantum mechanics. He explains the chemical bonding of atoms, the different states of matter, and the principal force of change in the world of matter: chemical reactions.
Part III Highlights (Lectures 25–36):
Dr. Hazen then turns to the explanation of how specific physical systems work. Such systems manifest themselves in the properties of materials, as well as in the characteristics of atomic isotopes and their energy-producing nuclear reactions. You will learn about astronomy, the Big Bang theory, the solar system, and today's burgeoning field of extra-solar planetary systems.Part IV Highlights (Lectures 37–48):
Dr. Hazen devotes lectures to the constant recycling of Earth's materials—water, air, and rock. He explores the question, "What is life?" You'll examine life's molecular building blocks: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. You'll learn how biological information is passed from parents to offspring, processes first quantified by the Czechoslovakian monk Gregor Mendel.
Part V Highlights (Lectures 49–60):
Mendel's discoveries lead Dr. Hazen to focus on the great unifying biological principles of genetics, evolution, and ecosystems. He argues that no scientific discovery of the 20th century has had a greater impact than the deciphering of the genetic code, embedded in the double-helix structure of DNA first described in 1952 by James Watson and Francis Crick. Dr. Hazen goes on to address troubling ethical questions raised by genetic engineering. He examines both the chemical and biological evolution of life before delving into the interdependent communities of species and their physical environments known as ecosystems.
Dr. Hazen also raises questions about claims that science is approaching its end—that all there is of significance to be learned about the natural world will soon be known.
Stress and Your Body [TTC Video]
31 October 2016, 16:54
Course No 1585 | MKV, AVC, 960x720 | AAC, 64 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.66GB
Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress is an inherent aspect of life in the 21st-century world. Regardless of the cause, stress is bound to affect you at some point during your day or week.
And stress can have tremendous negative effects on your mental and physical health. Most Western diseases that slowly get us sick—heart disease, diabetes, stroke—are worsened by stress. Chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and depression often flare up during repeated instances of stress. This makes coping with stress a critical part of how well we live.
But take heart. Because once you understand the inner workings of our stress response system and its inextricable links to all aspects of your personal health, you'll find yourself in possession of powerful knowledge that will help you understand and better deal with this common aspect of your busy life.
Now, from one of the world's foremost researchers on stress and neurobiology comes Stress and Your Body—a fascinating 24-lecture course that guides you through the psychological and psychosocial stress that is a central part of everyday life in Western society. With the guidance of Dr. Robert Sapolsky, acclaimed Professor of Biology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Stanford University and one of our most popular professors, you'll explore the nuts and bolts of the stress-response system and its various effects on your body.
What, Exactly, Is Stress?
Simply put, the stress-response system is a natural, highly adaptive survival system. Imagine you're a zebra being chased by a lion across some grassy savannah. Once you've recognized the threat, your stress-response system will divert energy from storage sites throughout your body to your muscles and inhibit unessential processes like digestion and reproduction, allowing you to flee faster from danger.
For animals, of course, coping with stress isn't a big deal; once they've escaped danger, their bodies and minds soon return to a balanced state. But for humans under chronic stress, there is rarely such a return.
Why? Because, for humans, the stress response is triggered not so much by life-or-death situations as by psychological reasons it wasn't designed to combat, such as
- traffic tie-ups that double the time it takes for you to get to work;
- complicated home repairs you haven't gotten around to making;
- troublesome thoughts and recurring memories; and
- worries about the economy, the environment, and international events.
In fact, as you quickly discover in this lecture series, the chronic stress that most of us face every day can turn the stress response from a safety mechanism into a real problem for our physical and mental well-being.
At the heart of any serious discussion of the impact of chronic stress on your body and mind lie some pointed questions:
- How does everyday stress affect the way your brain behaves?
- Why do some people adapt to stress more easily than others?
- What occurs at the neurological level during periods of emotional trauma?
- Why does stress not just impact your mind (where it's rooted) but your body as well?
- Why does stress prompt you to do certain things, like eat and sleep more (or less)?
The science behind these and other questions is captivating in its intricacies.
Explore the Biology of Stress …
With the same dynamic teaching skills that won him the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching—Stanford's highest teaching honor—Professor Sapolsky guides you through the specific systems of your body in the search for the biological effects of stress. He first details how the stress response normally works for both humans and the hypothetical hunted zebra, then delves into what happens to these systems when the stress response doesn't shut down.
Among the specific organ systems you explore in Stress and Your Body are these:
- Cardiovascular system: When stress hits, your blood pressure and heart rate rise, and blood is diverted from nonessential areas (like your gut) to critical ones (such as your muscles). When activated chronically, however, the stress-response system can damage your heart muscles and blood vessels.
- Digestive system: Chronic stress can wreak havoc with your digestive system and can even shut it down. This can lead to debilitating diseases and problems with your digestion.
- Reproductive system: Not only is chronic stress directly related to problems with reproduction, it affects the reproductive systems of men and women in different ways. Sustained stress can decrease the likelihood of ovulation and increase erectile dysfunction. For both sexes, however, libido is often greatly impaired.
- Immune system: Your immune system is designed to protect you from all sorts of pathogens. Unfortunately, when hit repeatedly with stress, your immune defenses are often impaired, resulting in more frequent, prolonged, or severe cases of diseases ranging from mononucleosis to the common cold.
This systems approach helps you better grasp the detailed science and biology behind stress. It also allows you to draw pointed comparisons with stress's effects on individual systems of the body—sometimes separately, sometimes simultaneously. You'll quickly discover that stress doesn't affect just one part of the body, but it also has a domino effect in which your entire body can become damaged by the effects of chronic stress.
You'll also get a chance to explore the physiological effects of stress on other parts of your health, including your
- physical growth and development,
- sleep cycle,
- memory and judgment, and
- pain threshold.
… and the Psychology of Stress
But the biology of stress is only one-half of the puzzle. Stress and Your Body also brings you up close and personal with the psychological underpinnings and effects of stress. There are powerful psychological factors that modulate how we respond to stress and that are instrumental in damaging not just our brains—but our psyches.
Among the psychological disorders and damaging behaviors that Professor Sapolsky explores are
- depression, the genetics of which are indelibly linked to the genetics of one's vulnerability to stress;
- anxiety, which is rooted in the amygdala—a part of our brain that is extremely sensitive to one class of stress hormones; and
- addiction, which can be directly related to increased levels of stress hormones in the body, whether it's an addiction to drugs or to new sensations.
Additionally, an individual's place in society plays a key role in both the creation and impact of stress. Toward the end of the course, you'll spend some time studying the relationship between low socioeconomic status and high stress levels—along with the poor health to which they lead.
Discover the Key to Change
With Stress and Your Body, you'll be learning about this integral—for better or worse—aspect of daily life from an engaging and insightful teacher. Professor Sapolsky knows just how important it is to understand the workings of stress, but he also flavors his lectures with humor and practical tips for stress management that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
Professor Sapolsky's unique teaching methods, in which profound insights, eye-opening concepts, and rigorous scientific support are intertwined with an informal delivery style, make the study of this topic absolutely illuminating.
"It's possible for us to change," he notes with characteristic enthusiasm at one point in Stress and Your Body. "It's hard in terms of there being no free lunch. But nonetheless, change can occur."
And the key to changing the impact of stress in your life, whether at work or at home, is a thorough knowledge of how and why it works on your mind and body. All of which you'll find right here in these dynamic lectures.
Great World Religions: Islam [TTC Video]
30 October 2016, 15:42
Course No 6102 | AVI, XviD, 528x384 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | 2.93GB
University professor and international government and media consultant John L. Esposito guides you through the facts and myths surrounding Islam and its more than 1.2 billion adherents. How familiar are you with the world's second largest and fastest-growing religion? Many in the West know little about the faith and are familiar only with the actions of a minority of radical extremists.
This course will help you better understand Islam's role as both a religion and a way of life, and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today. It is important to understand what Muslims believe, and also how their beliefs are carried out privately and publicly as individuals as well as members of a larger community.
Learning about Islam: What Does the Future Hold?
What does the future hold for Islam and the West in the new century? How will it change under the influence of conservatives, reformers, and extremists?
"The focus of this course will be to better understand Islam's role as a religion and as a way of life," says Professor Esposito. "In 12 lectures, moving from Muhammad to the present, from the 7th to the 21st centuries, we will explore Muslim beliefs, practices, and history in the context of its significance and impact on Muslim life and society through the ages, as well as world events today."
You will learn about:
- Muslim beliefs about other faiths
- Whether the Quran condones terrorism and what it says about God
- The contributions to mathematics, science, and art made by a flourishing Islamic civilization
- The role of women in Islam
- Whether Islam is compatible with modernization, capitalism, and democracy.
Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is one of the great monotheistic faiths that traces its ancestry to Abraham. Professor Esposito discusses the similarities and differences in the three great Abrahamic faiths and explores more closely the core beliefs that serve as the common denominators that unite all Muslims throughout the world.
"We will see that Islam is not monolithic," says Professor Esposito. "Although Muslims share certain core beliefs, the practices, interpretations, images, and realities of Islam vary across time and space."
The Stunning Growth of the Muslim Community and Its Golden Age
Within 100 years of Muhammad's death, the Muslim community became a vast, dynamic, and creative Islamic empire that stretched from North Africa to India.
Islamic civilization flourished under the Umayyad and Abbasid empires. Under Abbasid rule (750–1258 C.E.), the Islamic community became an empire of wealth, political power, and cultural accomplishments.
Muslims made original creative contributions in law, theology, philosophy, literature, medicine, algebra, geometry, science, art, and architecture.
Arabic became the language of literature and public discourse. Centers were created for the translation of manuscripts from Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Persian into Arabic.
Europeans, emerging from the Dark Ages, turned to Muslim centers of learning to regain their lost heritage and to learn from Muslim advances. Through Islamic philosophy, Greek philosophy was retransmitted to Europe.
Examining the history of Islamic civilization helps us appreciate the remarkable achievements of its Golden Age and to understand the sources of sectarianism, religious extremism, and the conflict between Islam and Christianity, epitomized by the Crusades.
Understand the Development of Islamic Law
Professor Esposito takes a closer look at the historical development of two great Islamic institutions: Islamic law, (the Shariah) and Islamic mysticism (Sufism).
Islamic law has been seen as the ideal blueprint guiding Muslims' correct action, that is, what to do in their public and private lives in order to realize God's will.
Sufism resulted from efforts to experience a more direct and personal sense of God. Both law, the exterior path to God, and mysticism, the interior path, developed as responses to what was perceived as the abuse of the enormous wealth and power in Islamic empires.
The historical tradition of Islamic renewal and reform was developed to fight internal disintegration and upheaval in the Muslim world caused by outside forces from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
Professor Esposito examines the variety of religious sociopolitical movements that struggled to address weakness and decline in diverse Muslim societies through the ages, and discusses how and why these efforts continue to inspire Islamic modernists and contemporary movements in our time.
Discuss the "Struggle for the Soul of Islam"
The lectures examine the worldwide "struggle for the soul of Islam" occurring today between conservatives and reformers, mainstream Muslims and extremists. Among these issues, few are more fraught with controversy than the debates about women and Islam.
Professor Esposito discusses women and their changing roles. Issues include diversity of dress, social status, education, and roles for women in the family throughout the world.
Professor Esposito expands this human dimension to spotlight the ever-increasing reality of Muslims as our neighbors and colleagues in Europe and America, examining how and why Muslims came to Europe and America, and the issues of faith and identity, integration and assimilation, that face them in their new homelands and how they are grappling with these challenges.
Harold McFarland, editor of Midwest Book Review, writes about this course: "This is easily the most accurate, even-handed, and thorough survey of Islam that I have seen to date. The extent of coverage, breadth, and depth of Professor Esposito's knowledge, recognition of the various groups and beliefs within Islam, and scholarly treatment of the subject makes this a very highly recommended lecture series and the only one on the subject that I could recommend to date."