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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity by Stanford University

4.9
stars
2,514 ratings
876 reviews

About the Course

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!)....

Top reviews

BH
Jun 22, 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.

AP
Aug 11, 2020

It was wonderful experience to know the special theory of relativity from Larry, who has presented the course in very simple way to understand. Thanks a lot to Larry for providing such a good session.

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826 - 850 of 871 Reviews for Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

By Deleted A

Dec 18, 2017

The content is really good. The quality of the content is excellent. The instructor's pedagogical skills are excellent as well.

The only criticism I have is with the length of the videos. I feel they could be shortened. Other than that, one of the best introductory courses for Special Relativity.

By Mitchell D

Oct 12, 2020

I think very highly of the course, and the professor, with one quibble: The professor had some difficulty talking in full sentences, which I found frustrating and annoying. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience, and believe that my understanding of Einstein's theories is certainly improved.

By Mahesh U

Feb 21, 2017

Not much of mathematical inclination. But the Prof. is really of high standard and he makes sure that you understand everything by the end of any topic as he will run by each topic more than once. Its an introductory course but induces a great amount of interest to learn more!

By Anthony B

Mar 24, 2017

Very good introductory course, clear and well designed, with a nice emphasis on the key concepts of the special theory of relativity. The mathematical background required is very light, hence the quantitative analysis of various examples and situations is limited.

By Felix M

Apr 25, 2020

A brilliant course. I got everything I wanted to out of it by the end, but one thing I would say is that it started off a little slow, particularly in weeks 2 and 3. All things considered, a great way to build a better understanding of special relativity.

By Ahmad S M

May 7, 2020

one of the best courses that I have taken so far from Coursera (and I took a lot). Easy, step by step mathematically, engaging in particular in discussion forums, Definitely recommended to anyone who has the least interest in theoretical physics!

By Ilan M

Sep 24, 2017

The course gives you a good qualitative understantding of special relativity as well as the historical context in which Einstein came up with the theory. The course is easy to engage with, even if you don't have much physics knowledge.

By Frantisek B

Sep 12, 2019

Love the course as its a interesting insight into the world of physics.

What i dont think was effective was the multiple choice quizzes as you could just glide through them without applying the knowledge you learned in any new way.

By Zach J

Nov 29, 2016

Very in Depth for if it is your first time learning. If you have already read about General and Special Relativity it doesn't tell you very much more than what you already know. Either way it is a great course.

By Alexander S

Mar 26, 2017

I disliked really slow speed of formulas derivation, simple operations like cancelling out terms are done in multiple steps. Like for children that only starting study mathematics. Otherwise great course!

By Tiffany O M B - R

May 2, 2017

Than You so much this course has really influenced my life at such great heights

It has also made me give more recognition to our Bible Family for all their great accomplishments.

By Doug Q

Sep 21, 2020

Felt a bit like I was being talked down to at the beginning as he tried to tell me how to study and take the course. Got much better after he just started to teach us concepts.

By Ashwini K S

Sep 21, 2020

I loved the course. I gained a lot from this. Want to learn more mathematics and wish could learn General theory from the same team. Thank you soo much. Great work.

By Aidan K

Feb 27, 2020

Quite hard work - the topic is not intuitive, and the questions teem with the possibility of going wrong - badly wrong.

Effort is required, and is paid-back.

By Ritvik A

Nov 23, 2017

It's a good course to start understanding Relativistic Physics. Nothing rigorous though.

The lectures are amazingly easy to understand. Overall liked it.

By luis a g s

Oct 12, 2017

I think a chapter on momentum and energy conservation would be interesting, I liked the examples and the treatment of the paradoxes, very good course.

By hei c

Jul 21, 2018

a very thorough introduction to special relativity, as a layman, I have gained immense insight & basic understanding. Thanks prof Lagerstrom!!!!

By Krish R

Jun 22, 2017

The course was really good. But the discussion forum was not pleasant. Due to the unruly behaviour of this person named Thomas Lahn

By Gary S

Aug 13, 2020

Mr Lagerstrom has explained a difficult topic in a very understandable way. He is a true teacher, not just a lecturer. Thank you.

By Christophe N

Oct 18, 2020

Nice course with very clear explanations! Too bad that I had to wait for week 4 to really start the core of special relativity

By Vertika S

Dec 17, 2018

Excellent Prof , Excellent Resources. My only drawback is that prof is a bit excessive repetitive, rest everything is fine.

By apeksha j

May 20, 2020

A very interesting course simplified to an under graduate level. it helps in understanding relativity in perspective.

By Lee H

Aug 16, 2017

Well taught and structured course, gives a more quantitative understanding of some of the outcomes.

By Jesper N

Jun 7, 2021

Very well organized and a pleasure to listen to the great explanations from Professor Lagerstrom.

By Kiran K

Mar 9, 2017

Good course for introduction to special relativity. I expected more related to E=mc^2 derivation.