Lectures Watched
Since January 1, 2014
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My Notes on Massive Open Online Course:
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity
This course offers you the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the life and work of the young Albert Einstein and especially his mind-bending special theory of relativity.
Notes on 5 Lectures I Watched in This Course:
Pre-Einstein Physics up to 1905
Einstein's Life Up To 1905
The Annus Mirabilis Papers of 1905
Dirac, Einstein, and Mathematical Beauty
Events, Clocks, and Observers
2 People I Have Learned About in this Course:
Thomas Young (1773-1829)
An English polymath who established the wave theory of light, overcoming the century-old view, expressed in the Isaac Newton's "Optics", that light is a particle
  • "The experiments I am about to relate may be repeated with great ease, whenever the sun shines, and without any other apparatus than is at hand to every one."
  • made notable scientific contributions to the fields of vision, light, solid mechanics, energy, physiology, language, musical harmony, and Egyptology
  • he made a number of original and insightful innovations on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs (specifically the Rosetta Stone) before Jean-François Champollion eventually expanded on his work
  • he was the eldest of ten children in a Quaker family
  • by the age of fourteen Young had learned Greek and Latin and was acquainted with French, Italian, Hebrew, German, Aramaic, Syriac, Samaritan, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Amharic
Paul Dirac (1902-1984)
English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, and predicted the existence of antimatter
  • among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation, which describes the behavior of fermions (quarks and leptons [electrons])
  • also did work that forms the basis of modern attempts to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics
  • he was the first to develop quantum field theory, which underlies all theoretical work on sub-atomic or elementary particles today, work that is fundamental to our understanding of the forces of nature
  • he proposed and investigated the concept of a magnetic monopole, an object that was not yet known empirically, as a means of bringing even greater symmetry to James Clerk Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism
1 Vocabulary Words I Learned in this Course:
heuristic technique, n. any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical methodology not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals, where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical  "Einstein called his Light Quantum Paper a heuristic proposal because it treated light as a particle even though understanding light in terms of waves had been established 100 years previously when Thomas Young set forth the modern wave theory of light."