subject
Intro

Coursera: Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

 with  Larry Randles Lagerstrom
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!).

Syllabus

Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context
Week 1: Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context

Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames
Week 2: Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames

Ethereal Problems and Solutions
Week 3: Ethereal Problems and Solutions

The Weirdness Begins
Week 4: The Weirdness Begins

Spacetime Switches
Week 5: Spacetime Switches

Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit
Week 6: Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit

Paradoxes to Ponder
Week 7: Paradoxes to Ponder

To the Center of the Galaxy and Back
Week 8: To the Center of the Galaxy and Back

11 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Subject Physics
Institution Stanford University
Provider Coursera
Language English
Certificates Paid Certificate Available
Hours 2-8 hours a week
Calendar 8 weeks long
Sign up for free? Learn how

Disclosure: To support our site, Class Central may be compensated by some course providers.

+ Add to My Courses
FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

11 reviews for Coursera's Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

Write a review
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
4 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Excellent and enthusiastic lecturer. Plenty of theoretical practice quizzes. The technical side of the course is quite elementary. If you follow the lectures and do the practice problems you should be able to get close to full marks. A great introduction to special relativity overall.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful
4 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Prof. Lagerstrom many thanks for your way of teaching a not very easy matter. I hope I can get a chance to attent a further course by you. Quantum physics would be my favorite matter.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
Prof 's way of teaching is just perfect. step by step so anyone can follow although Einstein is a challenge. Thanks a lot. As a matter of fact, I am just waiting for a quantum mechanic course by Prof. Lagerstrom.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
profile picture
Abhijith Gopal completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
* Mind bending concepts

* Insights into the world of Einstein

* Insights into foundation of modern physics

* Changes your perspective about things in general.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
a year ago
profile picture
Nader Osama Soliman completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
You want to know about how time and space behaves near light speed? You want to know how it all started for relativity (not covering General Relativity yet lays the ground for more understanding). A physics enthusiast? ... this course is for you.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
4 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
It was simply perfect for me. I hope of some other physik cours (maybe quantumphysik) from Prof. Lagerstrom
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
0 out of 4 people found the following review useful
4 years ago
profile picture
Anonymous completed this course.
The instructor (NOT a professor) spoke so slow and wrote so many emails out of his own insecurity, that I dropped this class sensing that this instructor was in over his head.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
11 months ago
Mauro Lacy completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
12 months ago
profile picture
Srivatsava Gullapalli partially completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
7 months ago
Rodrigo Simões completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO
2 years ago
Qz completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? YES | NO

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free