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

4.9
stars
2,704 ratings
934 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

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.

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.

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176 - 200 of 932 Reviews for Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

By L H

Jan 11, 2019

This is hands down the best introduction to the Special Theory of Relativity I have ever found. The instructor really explains everything so lucidly that even lay audiences without a strong math or physics background can grasp the theory. I would really love to see a course by this instructor on the General Theory of Relativity as well!

By Gregorio T

May 17, 2020

This course met 120% my expectations. Prof. Lagestrom has extraordinary teaching skills and assembled a course that allows students to slowly build fundamental blocks of knowledge. I look forward to keep learning with him if any other course is available. It has been a truly memorable experience. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Alvaro W

Oct 21, 2017

Thank you to Dr. Randles for teaching us this excellent course, for preparing all the lessons in a simple manner, he makes us see the theory easy. And thank you for teaching us not only the scientist, but also the human person through Einstein quotes.

Try to become not a person of success, but try rather to become a person of value

By Edwin R

Mar 29, 2020

Great course. Easy to follow and to understand. Also a great compliment to the professor for explaining the material in a clear and easy to follow manner. I have now a clear understanding of the underlying concepts of the special theory of relativity. I would really like to see a similar course on the general 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 halfway ' t w

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 Swarali C

May 15, 2021

The course very interesting. Because it doesn't require any detailed knowledge of physics or mathematics, the material is easy to grasp. The concepts are explained very clearly and well. Anyone with the average background of high school level physics or mathematics can complete the course without any major difficulties.

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 Myat T

Mar 12, 2022

T​he best course on Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. The instructor is very patient and provide detailed explanation. Even if you don't have any math and physics background, you would be able to understand more than 90% of the course material. Suitable for anyone who want to really understand the topics.

By golda a

Aug 14, 2021

The teacher was incredible. Thank you! I'm young and had minimal experience with Einstein's work prior and now I can credit myself with fully understanding special relativity. I hope to do general relativity eventually but perhaps when I'm old enough to go to university as it seems quite advanced. Thanks again:)

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 Graham J

Nov 17, 2021

E​xcellent course. Despite a solid background in chemistry and maths, I have never covered Special Relativity formally. I could never remember which clocks ran faster or which twin aged more. Now I know! Course suited to anyone with a minimum of maths and a modicum of curiosity. Onwards to General 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 OSVALDO A L

Apr 25, 2022

El curso es excelente. y de acuerdo a lo necesario para comprender la teoría sin ser un especialista.

Espero que en un futuro cercano completen el conocimiento ofreciendo un nuevo curso sobre la teoría general de la relatividad, para completar el aporte de Einstein a la ciencia y su desarrollo profundo.

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 Linda C

Jan 28, 2021

The course was challenging to me because of the math, but the examples and concepts were explained and reviewed so everything built on each other and made sense. Randles Lagerstrom was an engaging instructor. I enjoyed the brief tangents and asides, which gave proof to the narrow focus of this course.