Course on Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity by Stanford University [Online]: Enroll Now!

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About the Course

In this course, we will seek to “understand Einstein,” especially focusing on the special theory of relativity that Albert Einstein, as a twenty-six-year-old patent clerk, introduced in his “miracle year” of 1905. Our goal will be to go behind the myth-making and beyond the popularized presentations of relativity in order to gain a deeper understanding of both Einstein the person and the concepts, predictions, and strange paradoxes of his theory.

Some of the questions we will address include:

  • How did Einstein come up with his ideas?
  • What was the nature of his genius?
  • What is the meaning of relativity?
  • What’s “special” about the special theory of relativity?
  • Why did the theory initially seem to be dead on arrival?
  • What does it mean to say that time is the “fourth dimension”?
  • Can time actually run more slowly for one person than another, and the size of things change depending on their velocity?
  • Is time travel possible, and if so, how?
  • Why can’t things travel faster than the speed of light?
  • Is it possible to travel to the center of the galaxy and return in one lifetime?
  • Is there any evidence that definitively confirms the theory, or is it mainly speculation?
  • Why didn’t Einstein win the Nobel Prize for the theory of relativity?

Syllabus

  • Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context
  • Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames
  • Ethereal Problems and Solutions
  • The Weirdness Begins
  • Spacetime Switches
  • Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit
  • Paradoxes to Ponder
  • To the Center of the Galaxy and Back

Instructor

Larry Randles Lagerstrom Academic Director

To enroll in this course, click the link below.

Course on Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

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