课程信息
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? About the instructor: Dr. Larry Lagerstrom is the Director of Academic Programs at Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development, which offers graduate certificates in subjects such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, data mining, nanotechnology, innovation, and management science. He holds degrees in physics, mathematics, and the history of science, has published a book and a TED Ed video on "Young Einstein: From the Doxerl Affair to the Miracle Year," and has had over 30,000 students worldwide enroll in his online course on the special theory of relativity (this course!).
Globe

100% 在线课程

立即开始,按照自己的计划学习。
Beginner Level

初级

Clock

完成时间大约为40 小时

建议:8 weeks of study, 5-10 hours per week
Comment Dots

English

字幕:English
Globe

100% 在线课程

立即开始,按照自己的计划学习。
Beginner Level

初级

Clock

完成时间大约为40 小时

建议:8 weeks of study, 5-10 hours per week
Comment Dots

English

字幕:English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context

Week 1: Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context...
Reading
9 videos (Total 149 min), 8 readings, 4 quizzes
Video9 videos
Course overview17m
How to succeed in the course20m
Rules of engagement11m
Math review24m
Week 1 introduction8m
Physics and Einstein circa 190026m
To the miracle year18m
The miracle year16m
Reading8 readings
Course overview (outline)5m
How to succeed in the course (outline)2m
Rules of engagement (outline)2m
Math review (outline)2m
Week 1 introduction (outline)2m
Physics and Einstein circa 1900 (outline)5m
To the miracle year (outline)2m
The miracle year (outline)2m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Physics and Einstein circa 190014m
To the miracle year16m
The miracle year14m
Week 1 final quiz16m

2

Section
Clock
9 hours to complete

Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames

Week 2: Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames...
Reading
11 videos (Total 174 min), 12 readings, 9 quizzes
Video11 videos
Events, clocks, and observers (part 1)14m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 2)10m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1)18m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2)14m
Frames of reference (part 1)18m
Frames of reference (part 2)15m
Frames of reference (part 3)11m
A few more words on world lines10m
The Galilean transformation17m
Week 2 summary31m
Reading12 readings
Week 2 introduction (outline)2m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 1) (outline)2m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 2) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 1) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 2) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 3) (outline)2m
A few more words on world lines (outline)2m
The Galilean transformation (outline)2m
Week 2 problem set (optional)0m
Week 2 problem set solutions30m
Quiz9 practice exercises
Events, clocks, and observers (parts 1 and 2)8m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1)8m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2)12m
Frames of reference (part 1)10m
Frames of reference (part 2)20m
Frames of reference (part 3)16m
A few more words on world lines10m
The Galilean transformation8m
Week 2 final quiz24m

3

Section
Clock
9 hours to complete

Ethereal Problems and Solutions

Week 3: Ethereal Problems and Solutions...
Reading
12 videos (Total 203 min), 15 readings, 6 quizzes
Video12 videos
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates22m
A few words about waves (part 1)18m
A few words about waves (part 2)7m
A few words about waves (part 3)17m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 1)15m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 2)19m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 3)11m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 4)24m
Stellar aberration9m
Ethereal solutions18m
Week 3 summary25m
Reading15 readings
Week 3 introduction (outline)2m
A note on "Einstein and God"5m
A note on wave-particle duality and the nature of light5m
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 1) (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 2) (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 3) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 1) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 2) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 3) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 4) (outline)2m
Stellar aberration (outline)2m
Ethereal solutions (outline)2m
Week 3 problem set (optional)0m
Week 3 problem set solutions30m
Quiz6 practice exercises
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates12m
A few words about waves (parts 1, 2, and 3)12m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (all parts)10m
Stellar aberration4m
Ethereal solutions12m
Week 3 final quiz24m

4

Section
Clock
9 hours to complete

The Weirdness Begins

Week 4: The Weirdness Begins...
Reading
14 videos (Total 215 min), 15 readings, 9 quizzes
Video14 videos
The relativity of simultaneity (part 1)6m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 2)10m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 3)16m
The relativity of simultaneity (summary)11m
The light clock (part 1)11m
The light clock (part 2)26m
Exploring the Lorentz factor6m
Time dilation22m
Measuring length21m
What is not suspect13m
The invariant interval22m
A real-life example: the muon7m
Week 4 summary29m
Reading15 readings
Week 4 introduction (outline)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 1)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 2)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 3)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (leading clocks lag diagram)2m
The light clock (part 1) (outline)2m
The light clock (part 2) (outline)2m
Exploring the Lorentz factor (outline)2m
Time dilation (outline)2m
Measuring length (diagram)10m
What is not suspect (outline)2m
The invariant interval (outline)2m
A real-life example: the muon (outline)2m
Week 4 problem set (optional)0m
Week 4 problem set solutions30m
Quiz9 practice exercises
The relativity of simultaneity (parts 1 and 2)12m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 3)12m
The relativity of simultaneity (summary)4m
The light clock and exploring the Lorentz factor16m
Time dilation8m
Measuring length14m
What is not suspect, and the invariant interval8m
The muon6m
Week 4 final quiz22m

5

Section
Clock
10 hours to complete

Spacetime Switches

Week 5: Spacetime Switches...
Reading
17 videos (Total 272 min), 16 readings, 10 quizzes
Video17 videos
Units for the speed of light8m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 1)25m
The Lorentz transformation (part 1)21m
The Lorentz transformation (part 2)17m
The Lorentz transformation (part 3)29m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 1)17m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 2)11m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 3)5m
Leading clocks lag, revisited (a quantitative analysis)29m
Leading clocks lag, revisited (alternate shorter version)17m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 2)17m
Combining velocities25m
Combining velocities, addendum2m
The ultimate speed limit10m
What happens with perpendicular velocities?12m
Week 5 summary9m
Reading16 readings
Week 5 introduction (outline)2m
Units for the speed of light (outline)2m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 1) (outline)2m
The Lorentz transformation (part 1) (outline)2m
The Lorentz transformation (part 2) (outline)2m
The Lorentz transformation (part 3) (outline)2m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 1) (outline)2m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 2) (outline)2m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (part 3) (outline)2m
Leading clocks lag, revisited (outline)2m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 2) (outline)2m
Combining velocities (outline)2m
The ultimate speed limit (outline)2m
What happens with perpendicular velocities? (outline)2m
Week 5 problem set (optional)0m
Week 5 problem set solutions30m
Quiz10 practice exercises
Units for the speed of light8m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 1)8m
The Lorentz transformation (parts 1, 2, and 3)8m
Exploring the Lorentz transformation (parts 1, 2, and 3)12m
Leading clocks lag, revisited6m
Exploring time dilation and length contraction (part 2)8m
Combining velocities10m
The ultimate speed limit6m
What happens with perpendicular velocities?4m
Week 5 final quiz20m

6

Section
Clock
8 hours to complete

Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit

Week 6: Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit...
Reading
11 videos (Total 167 min), 11 readings, 8 quizzes
Video11 videos
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 1a)16m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 1b)7m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 2)13m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 3)20m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 4)18m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 5)11m
Regions of spacetime29m
Faster than light?16m
Cause and effect, or vice versa?13m
Week 6 summary15m
Reading11 readings
Week 6 introduction (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (parts 1a and 1b) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 2) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 3) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 4) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 5) (outline)2m
Regions of spacetime (outline)2m
Faster than light? (outline)2m
Cause and effect, or vice versa? (outline)2m
Week 6 problem set (optional)0m
Week 6 problem set solutions30m
Quiz8 practice exercises
Spacetime diagrams revisited (parts 1a and 1b)8m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 2)8m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (parts 3 and 4)6m
Spacetime diagrams revisited (part 5)6m
Regions of spacetime10m
Faster than light?8m
Cause and effect, or vice versa?10m
Week 6 final quiz20m

7

Section
Clock
7 hours to complete

Paradoxes to Ponder

Week 7: Paradoxes to Ponder...
Reading
11 videos (Total 141 min), 12 readings, 5 quizzes
Video11 videos
Cause and effect: spacetime diagram9m
The pole in the barn paradox22m
The pole in the barn: spacetime diagram4m
How objects contract8m
Spaceships on a rope12m
The twin paradox (part 1)10m
The twin paradox (part 2)15m
The twin paradox (part 3)19m
The twin paradox (part 4)23m
Week 7 summary5m
Reading12 readings
Week 7 introduction (outline)2m
Cause and effect: spacetime diagram (outline)2m
The pole in the barn paradox (outline)2m
The pole in the barn: spacetime diagram (outline)2m
How objects contract (outline)2m
Spaceships on a rope (outline)2m
The twin paradox (part 1) (outline)2m
The twin paradox (part 2) (outline)2m
The twin paradox (part 3) (outline)2m
The twin paradox (part 4) (outline)2m
Week 7 problem set (optional)0m
Week 7 problem set solutions30m
Quiz5 practice exercises
Cause and effect: spacetime diagram4m
The pole in the barn paradox and spacetime diagram6m
How objects contract, and spaceships on a rope6m
The twin paradox (parts 1-4)12m
Week 7 final quiz20m

8

Section
Clock
7 hours to complete

To the Center of the Galaxy and Back

Week 8: To the Center of the Galaxy and Back...
Reading
9 videos (Total 127 min), 10 readings, 7 quizzes
Video9 videos
Traveling the galaxy (part 1)15m
The famous equation18m
Traveling the galaxy (part 2)9m
The happiest thought16m
The bending of light16m
Final comments21m
Week 8 summary9m
Course recap13m
Reading10 readings
Week 8 introduction (outline)2m
Traveling the galaxy (part 1) (outline)2m
The famous equation (outline)2m
Traveling the galaxy (part 2) (outline)2m
The happiest thought (outline)2m
The bending of light (outline)2m
Final comments (outline)2m
Suggested books for further reading5m
Week 8 problem set (optional)0m
Week 8 problem set solutions30m
Quiz7 practice exercises
Traveling the galaxy (part 1)12m
The famous equation10m
Traveling the galaxy (part 2)6m
The happiest thought8m
The bending of light4m
Final comments10m
Week 8 final quiz20m
4.8
Direction Signs

20%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By BHJun 23rd 2017

This course is very comprehensive and well prepared material for understanding the Special Theory of Relativity. Larry (the instructor) is very expert and has broad knowledge in explaining the course.

By JKApr 2nd 2017

I enjoyed this course very much. Professor Larry Randles Lagerstrom made a difficult subject easy to understand. Especially for a fellow who at 85 has forgotten a lot of what he learned in college.

Instructor

Avatar

Larry Randles Lagerstrom

Academic Director

About Stanford University

The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto, California, United States....

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