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

2,141 ratings
720 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


Dec 09, 2019

Almost anyone can learn about the special theory of relativity from these lectures. I actually can't believe that I studied from a professor who teaches in the USA and in so simple way. I am grateful.


Jun 23, 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.

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251 - 275 of 710 Reviews for Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

By Ajay V

Jun 22, 2020

Really Informative course. Actually I'm a grad student with Physics specialization. So I was already familiar with some of this. But the way of teaching is so wonderful that I found myself as a newbie.

By Bill W

May 24, 2020

Instructor Dr. Lagerstrom displays an excellent talent of both planning and presentation of the

Theory of relativity. His presentation is easy to follow and to understand. Thanks for such a good job.

By oscar A

Sep 09, 2018

Excellent course and teacher; it helped me expand and put together previous scattered knowledge I had on this topic. It has motivated me to continue my learning on astrophysics and music with Coursera.

By Nut b

Nov 19, 2016

The teacher was very good and made it easier to understand some of the more difficult topics.The course was very interesting and gave me a very good insight into Einsteins special theory of relativity.


Aug 25, 2019

Thank you sir to give me such a valuable knowledge . Your way of explanation is fabulous I can't define it in words I learned lots of new thing from you and thanks for providing the book link.....😊

By Victor H P

Sep 16, 2020

Instructor made the course very enjoyable, easy to understnad for the non-technical person, very interesting and eye opening. I now have a much more humble regard of our place in the universe. Wow!

By Julie B

Sep 18, 2017

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. The knowledge I have gained is something that I will treasure and will propel me to keep studying and trying to understand our wonderful universe.

By John K

Apr 02, 2017

I enjoyed this course very much. Professor Larry Randles Lagerstrom made a difficult subject easy to understand. Especially for a fellow who at 85 has forgotten a lot of what he learned in college.

By Anoop R D

Jul 27, 2020


By Chirag G

Mar 11, 2020

This course is really wonderful. You will get some basic ideas related to Einstein's theories. If you are keen to know about Einstein, it's going to be your perfect start. Really excellent course.

By 方冠华

Aug 20, 2017

I really enjoyed this course. Very concise, clear yet teaches a lot of mind-challenging concepts. I am so happy that I clicked the bottom to register this course. Also, big thank to the professor.

By karunesh D

May 03, 2020

Wonderful course on STR. Mr. Larry explained the complicated things in a very easy way using lots of diagrams. I was motivated throughout the course because he kept me on track so I lost nothing.

By Robert C C

May 22, 2018

Excellent course. The instructor did a wonderful job, using a white board and simple props. He made it interesting and made these complex principles understandable. I enjoyed the experience.

By Waqaar H

Aug 07, 2020

It is an excellent course. Just the right thing for a person who truly wants to understand the basics of the Special Theory of Relativity. The teaching style of the instructor is also amazing.


Aug 07, 2020

This is one of the most wonderful course that I have ever found on Coursera. The course take a simple and realistic approach to explain the concepts evolved in Special theory of Relativity.

By Sidharth G

Mar 17, 2018

It was a good introductory course for the special theory of relativity. But being from an engineering background i wished it was a bit more quantitative but an excellent course nonetheless.

By Samiha T

Dec 25, 2017

This course was truly amazing and everything here was taught in a way that students can easily understand. I earnestly request Larry, sir to compile a course on general theory of relativity

By Mark L

Oct 08, 2020

The material was explained very well and in not so great a depth as to pass my understanding of it. I definitely feel I understand some of Einstein's theories now than before the course.

By Jose D

May 25, 2018

Outstanding course, by far the best MOOC available. I really enjoyed listening to prof. Lagerstrom lectures and his clear explanations of a subject which is not so obvious to understand.

By Güneş E

Oct 16, 2017

Easily one of the most informative courses of my life. Of course the information given was not new, but the details and L. R. Lagerstrom were really cool. I get what I expected and more/

By Fabio D

Jun 25, 2017

Great course!

Thanks to Professor Lagerstrom for his patient and clear way of teaching and explaining things. Looking forward for a course on General Theory of Relativity tought buy him.

By Matthew D

Aug 20, 2020

This was my first course and I must say that this was great! There was never one point where I did not have a lack of interest in the topic. I only wish that there was more to learn!

By Angit S

May 04, 2020

Simple and very elaborative. Enjoyed the Professors comments throughout the class. History plus concepts gave a good understanding of the theory and the background from which it came.

By Arpan M

Oct 21, 2017

Extremely good course, which not only teaches the basic fundamentals of Einstein and his theories. But the biggest takeaway of the course is that it develops a scientific temperament.

By Derick M S

Jul 06, 2020

An exceptional course. Covers all the basic things necessary to understand the special theory of relativity. It was well taught and will be interesting for anyone who enjoys physics.