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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Study Physics at Top Universities ... For Free!

By January 6, 2008

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An intriguing article in the Washington Post came to my attention, letting me know about a phenomenon of which I had not been aware. It seems that some top universities across the country are allowing some of their courses to be distributed for free throughout the web, in some form or another. A few of the more relevant ones to physics study include:

MIT Open Courseware offers 1,800 courses for free online. The course websites include all lecture notes, exames, assignments, and any relevant lab manuals. In short, you get everything except the actual classtime and the textbook (which you could, of course, buy if you wished). In addition to essentially the entire Physics curriculum, the following related departments are available:

Open Yale courses gives a much narrower selection - at present it offers only seven introductory courses, but what is offered is actually video of every lecture session for these courses. Instead of merely reading the lecture notes, you can actually observe the class as it transpires. Right now introductory courses in the Astronomy and Physics departments are available.

UC Berkeley, on the other hand, is offering their course videos through YouTube. Some relevant categories of video include the Physics 10: Physics for Future Presidents and College of Engineering.

If you have information about more universities that offer courses in this fashion, feel free to let us know in the Comments section! Or, if you've viewed courses in this way, let us know what you thought of them!


January 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm
(1) G. van Uden says:

I’ve followed some of the Berkeley courses: Prof. Alex Filippenko’s Astronomy C10 course (twice!), Prof. Richard Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents (also twice!), and Prof. Richard Allen’s Earthquakes in Your Backyard (this is audio only, but the lecture slides are posted on the course website).

I’ve also followed two astronomy courses given by Prof. Richard Pogge at Ohio State University (Astronomy 161 and 162). These are audio podcasts, but he also posts lecture notes and some images (where copyright allows this).

I’ve found this a great way to broaden my knowledge. You can just watch the videos (or listen to the audio)and you’ll pick up a lot, but if you also get a copy of the textbooks and follow the syllabus as much as possible, then you can really benefit. I enjoy being able to watch and learn from some of the best teachers around. I can follow the lectures when it suits my schedule, and rewind if necessary. Sometimes I’ve got stuck on a problem for a while, but so far I’ve always managed to find help on the internet.

January 13, 2008 at 2:21 pm
(2) omg.... says:

seriously? get.a.life

June 20, 2008 at 10:47 am
(3) old john says:

omg learning is life, but than when you
believe the world is flat you have a problem

December 16, 2010 at 10:35 am
(4) physiscs lover says:

thanks I will try that I love physics and can’t believe that it is so easy to find knowledge these days.
Knowledge is my life

March 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm
(5) Ramon says:

MIT quite recently went live with a new free online learning initiative called MITx. Interesting fact: it’s possible to gain certification against a “modest fee” although it will not be a certificate bearing the name of MIT (but that of a non-profit body of MIT).

June 24, 2012 at 9:23 am
(6) Syed Abdul Jabbar says:

Respected sir,

Whenever an accident is happened at a road, the driver run away from the scene of Crime.
So as a Police Investigation Officer, we have to collect glass fragments from the Scene and later if being arrested any suspect vehicle in the city running elsewhere.
Now we have to determine the density and refractive index of the said glass pieces.
Therefore you are asked how to mathematically and practically find out the refractive index of said both intact samples.?

Kindly reply in a very simple equation and experimental exercise.
Syed Abdul Jabbar

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