Chevron Left
Back to Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

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

2,255 ratings
774 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

Mar 21, 2020

Thanks for helping me understand the Special Theory of Relativity, covered a lot of ground but repeated it so it really could sink in. Like your style and want to thank you for your assistance. Thanks

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.

Filter by:

151 - 175 of 763 Reviews for Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

By Kishore R

May 23, 2017

This course is well laid out and planned. The professor goes through step by step and makes it very easy to understand a very difficult and non-intuitive subject. The qualitative explanations are excellent in giving a sense of what the equations mean.

All in all, an excellent course. Thank you very much for making this available.

By King C

Jan 6, 2021

A very good and extensive course giving you a solid introduction to the special theory of relativity. As a high school student I found that it started out quite slow with a bit too much on history in the first week in my opinion. It gets really interesting after the second or third week, especially for someone who loves maths.

By Diksha A

Sep 15, 2020

A very intuitive course which starts from the ground basics and builds an understanding on how to jog one's brains to imagine in-depth thought experiments which help us in understanding the amazingness of our universe. Very well taught by Professor Lagerstrom who explains in a very simple manner for everyone's understanding.

By Mauritius X

Sep 14, 2017

Incredible. Now I can say to have learned the basics of relativity. A step by step approach with some math guided me through the field. Before the course I was simply aware of the major points of the theory accepting its conclusion bona fide. Now I got it. Thanks a lot professor. There is a reason why you teach at Stanford

By Joseph J

Jun 21, 2020

Such a great course with a superb instructor! The pacing of the course, in my opinion, was perfect. We certainly made haste, but we made haste slowly. Things were explained in a way, that the greater understanding of the math and "philosophy" behind it came together in a beautiful manner. So happy with taking this course!

By Cristian N

Jan 16, 2017

Excelente habilidad para la docencia mezclando el contexto histórico de uno de los más grandes avances de la ciencia moderna con las bases matemáticas y físicas necesarias para comprender la Teoría de la Relatividad Especial, de una manera didáctica y para todo público, no sólo para personas entendidas en física avanzada.

By Sam

May 13, 2017

Thank you Professor, your lecture is very interesting, and it is quite helpful to learn physics with a little history. I found that there are some mistakes in the subtitle, but it is not significant and I think I can understand it according to the context. Really impressive course, I hope I can see you in other courses.

By Heike S

Apr 26, 2018

“One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

― Albert Einstein

The course was varied and motivating in its structure. Professor Larry Lagerstrom is an outstanding personality. It was a very enriching experience.

By Steven G

Jun 21, 2018

Excellent course. I feel I gained some insight into the core concepts of special relativity. I took to heart the "festina lente" ethos exposed early in the course by the instructor. Larry Lagerstrom is a fantastic teacher, he has the ability to explain often complex material in a way to that makes it understandable.

By Felix S G

May 11, 2020

This course offers an excellent and intuitive entry to the special theory of relativity. In my eyes, it is suited for everyone being fascinated by space-time and the "weirdness" of our universe and at the same time wants to dig a little deeper into the physical and mathematical framework of special relativity.

By Gaurav B

Jul 4, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and it was informative and we'll presented. I think I will miss listening about time. For me its been much therapeutic. It challenges my brain to even visualize these concepts and hence I can spend as much time studying it. The presenter knows his stuff and like his simplicity.

By Daniel H d A C

Sep 5, 2017

An outstanding course, it was what I was looking for to get a good understanding of the topic.

Really good course progression, well explained concepts. I am definitely happy and "1000%" satisfied with this amazing course, Professor Lagerstrom is simply amazing and he definitely deserves a strong acclamation!!

By Solai S

Jun 24, 2017

It was incredibly interesting and enjoyable experience,the course instructor was fabulous and i could understand many mind baffling information with a surprising ease.I am looking forward for stanford university's course on the general theory of relativity and i hope that it is taught by the same professor.

By Sujoy M

Aug 2, 2020

Great Course. I wish there would me more courses like this in other topics like general theory of relativity. Discussion forum is very active. Mentors are available to clarify any topics. Videos are a bit slow though, but you can always fast forward. I am grateful to the course instructor of this course.

By Randy G

Feb 14, 2018

Absolutely wonderful course. I am grateful to Mr. Lagerstrom for making haste slowly in his explanations during the lectures. Really helped to cement the concepts and the math into the mind. This course comes with my highest recommendation to anyone who is interested in learning about Special Relativity.

By Aman B

Oct 18, 2017

Excellent course which explores every concept of the theory deeply. It is a very interesting experience to see the theory build up little by little from scratch.

The discussions forums are great with active mentors.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in science and willing to take some time out!

By Stephen C H

Jan 8, 2021

An excellent and well presented course that patiently describes the Special theory and is easily understandable. Be prepared to concentrate and spend 6-8 hours per week to get full value from this. I think Larry is a very good instructor who makes the critical concepts very clear. Highly recommended.

By Deleted A

Feb 5, 2017

This is one of best courses I have ever taken. Professor Lagerstrom did an outstanding job in this clear,consistent and careful introduction to what is arguably one of the most revolutionary theories of all time. I am taking the 5 stars and multiplying by a lorentz factor of 1.2 to achieve 6 stars!!

By Harjit B

Jan 8, 2019

Dr. Lagerstrom has done a beautiful job in giving an in depth view of the matter in a very accessible fashion. A complex phenomenon is explained in all its detail in a very nice blend of geometry and elementary algebra, The problem sets and the quizzes make you think. I fully recommend this course.

By Vijayatha V

Feb 3, 2018

This course is amazing!! Even a person without physics and mathematics background can understand it. Its also very help for physics undergrad students like myself. The professor explains every concept patiently and refreshes the concept before going to the next one. Every one must try this course!!

By Amar M

Sep 11, 2020

The methodology of the Professor to tech and explain this topic was amazing and helped me understand the concept which I otherwise would have never understood. I recommend this course for people from non-physics background but have keen interest in understanding the Special Theory of Relativity.

By Nitin G

May 21, 2020

I had been trying to understand this concept from a long time and could never understood it.

This is the best course i had done and the Instructor Sir in awesome, just awesome.

I will let my daughter also take this course.

Would require a signed photo autograph of Larry Randles Lagerstrom , Please.

By Felizitas R

Dec 28, 2018

Dieser Kurs war für mich als Neueinsteigerin genau richtig. Es wurde sehr verständliches Englisch gesprochen und die Begleitmaterialien waren ausführlich und hilfreich. Im Forum wurde auf Fragen immer sofort ausführlich geantwortet. Mir hat der Kurs sehr gefallen und ich habe viel gelernt.

By Mohammed M

Nov 4, 2018

This is the most interesting topic I've ever learned in my life.Tons*C2 of thanks to professor Lagerstrom who explained everything clearly and patiently and thanks to Stanford university too. I would so recommend this course to my fellow science enthusiasts and thanks to you too coursera.

By Shashank D

May 26, 2018

Very well designed course with good content and information. Also takes a methodical approach to teaching and is easy to follow and get a good understanding of the underlying concepts behind special theory of relativity with context around how it was conceived and developed by Einstein.