About this Course
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Beginner Level

Approx. 41 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study, 5-10 hours per week...

English

Subtitles: English
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100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Beginner Level

Approx. 41 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study, 5-10 hours per week...

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
4 hours to complete

Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context

9 videos (Total 149 min), 8 readings, 4 quizzes
9 videos
Course overview17m
How to succeed in the course20m
Rules of engagement11m
Math review24m
Week 1 introduction8m
Physics and Einstein circa 190026m
To the miracle year18m
The miracle year16m
8 readings
Course overview (outline)5m
How to succeed in the course (outline)2m
Rules of engagement (outline)2m
Math review (outline)2m
Week 1 introduction (outline)2m
Physics and Einstein circa 1900 (outline)5m
To the miracle year (outline)2m
The miracle year (outline)2m
4 practice exercises
Physics and Einstein circa 190014m
To the miracle year16m
The miracle year14m
Week 1 final quiz16m
Week
2
9 hours to complete

Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames

11 videos (Total 174 min), 12 readings, 9 quizzes
11 videos
Events, clocks, and observers (part 1)14m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 2)10m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1)18m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2)14m
Frames of reference (part 1)18m
Frames of reference (part 2)15m
Frames of reference (part 3)11m
A few more words on world lines10m
The Galilean transformation17m
Week 2 summary31m
12 readings
Week 2 introduction (outline)2m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 1) (outline)2m
Events, clocks, and observers (part 2) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1) (outline)2m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 1) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 2) (outline)2m
Frames of reference (part 3) (outline)2m
A few more words on world lines (outline)2m
The Galilean transformation (outline)2m
Week 2 problem set (optional)3h
Week 2 problem set solutions30m
9 practice exercises
Events, clocks, and observers (parts 1 and 2)8m
Spacetime diagrams (part 1)8m
Spacetime diagrams (part 2)12m
Frames of reference (part 1)10m
Frames of reference (part 2)20m
Frames of reference (part 3)16m
A few more words on world lines10m
The Galilean transformation8m
Week 2 final quiz24m
Week
3
9 hours to complete

Ethereal Problems and Solutions

12 videos (Total 203 min), 15 readings, 6 quizzes
12 videos
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates22m
A few words about waves (part 1)18m
A few words about waves (part 2)7m
A few words about waves (part 3)17m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 1)15m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 2)19m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 3)11m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 4)24m
Stellar aberration9m
Ethereal solutions18m
Week 3 summary25m
15 readings
Week 3 introduction (outline)2m
A note on "Einstein and God"5m
A note on wave-particle duality and the nature of light5m
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 1) (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 2) (outline)2m
A few words about waves (part 3) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 1) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 2) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 3) (outline)2m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (part 4) (outline)2m
Stellar aberration (outline)2m
Ethereal solutions (outline)2m
Week 3 problem set (optional)3h
Week 3 problem set solutions30m
6 practice exercises
Einstein's starting point: the two postulates12m
A few words about waves (parts 1, 2, and 3)12m
The Michelson-Morley experiment (all parts)10m
Stellar aberration4m
Ethereal solutions12m
Week 3 final quiz24m
Week
4
9 hours to complete

The Weirdness Begins

14 videos (Total 215 min), 15 readings, 9 quizzes
14 videos
The relativity of simultaneity (part 1)6m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 2)10m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 3)16m
The relativity of simultaneity (summary)11m
The light clock (part 1)11m
The light clock (part 2)26m
Exploring the Lorentz factor6m
Time dilation22m
Measuring length21m
What is not suspect13m
The invariant interval22m
A real-life example: the muon7m
Week 4 summary29m
15 readings
Week 4 introduction (outline)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 1)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 2)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (diagram 3)2m
The relativity of simultaneity (leading clocks lag diagram)2m
The light clock (part 1) (outline)2m
The light clock (part 2) (outline)2m
Exploring the Lorentz factor (outline)2m
Time dilation (outline)2m
Measuring length (diagram)10m
What is not suspect (outline)2m
The invariant interval (outline)2m
A real-life example: the muon (outline)2m
Week 4 problem set (optional)3h
Week 4 problem set solutions30m
9 practice exercises
The relativity of simultaneity (parts 1 and 2)12m
The relativity of simultaneity (part 3)12m
The relativity of simultaneity (summary)4m
The light clock and exploring the Lorentz factor16m
Time dilation8m
Measuring length14m
What is not suspect, and the invariant interval8m
The muon6m
Week 4 final quiz22m
4.9
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Top reviews from Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

By BHJun 23rd 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.

By OPAug 15th 2019

Hats off to the professor for being able to explain such mind-boggling concepts about the very nature of existence in an entertaining and intuitive way. One of my favorite courses on Coursera by far!

Instructor

Avatar

Larry Randles Lagerstrom

Academic Director

About Stanford University

The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto, California, United States....

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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