Mysteries of Time: New Teaching Company Course

By Sean Carroll | October 1, 2012 8:24 am

Just in time for the holidays (Halloween totally counts as a holiday), the Teaching Company (a/k/a “The Great Courses) is releasing a new course I recorded — Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the format (and my previous course, Dark Matter and Dark Energy), this is a set of 24 lectures, each half an hour each, modeled on an undergraduate college course for non-scientists. Note that both are hugely discounted at the moment, by 70% off the ordinary price, which isn’t always the case. Unlike the previous course, this new one is available in an audio-only format as well as on video. But in the last few years they have upgraded their graphics and animation considerably, so the video version might be worth a look. Here’s the teaser:

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the course follows the outline in From Eternity to Here. But it’s also pretty different; the organization has been switched around, and the course has a lot more emphasis on time in everyday life and the psychology of time, less on cosmology and the multiverse. Here are the lecture titles:

1. Why Time Is a Mystery
2. What Is Time?
3. Keeping Time
4. Time’s Arrow
5. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
6. Reversibility and the Laws of Physics
7. Time Reversal in Particle Physics
8. Time in Quantum Mechanics
9. Entropy and Counting
10. Playing with Entropy
11. The Past Hypothesis
12. Memory, Causality, and Action
13. Boltzmann Brains
14. Complexity and Life
15. The Perception of Time
16. Memory and Consciousness
17. Time and Relativity
18. Curved Spacetime and Black Holes
19. Time Travel
20. Black Hole Entropy
21. Evolution of the Universe
22. The Big Bang
23. The Multiverse
24. Approaches to the Arrow of Time

These courses are a lot of fun to do, and hopefully they’re as much fun for the listeners/viewers. They reach a different audience than books do, and I’ve received fantastic feedback from people who went through the previous course. There are a lot of Great Courses available, so when you’ve had enough science take a look at the history and music offerings.


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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