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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Science of the Solar System by Caltech

4.8
stars
476 ratings
170 reviews

About the Course

Learn about the science behind the current exploration of the solar system in this free class. Use principles from physics, chemistry, biology, and geology to understand the latest from Mars, comprehend the outer solar system, ponder planets outside our solar system, and search for habitability in our neighborhood and beyond. This course is generally taught at an advanced level assuming a prior knowledge of undergraduate math and physics, but the majority of the concepts and lectures can be understood without these prerequisites. The quizzes and final exam are designed to make you think critically about the material you have learned rather than to simply make you memorize facts. The class is expected to be challenging but rewarding....

Top reviews

CE

Mar 04, 2020

Learning facilitated by good lecturing, well prepared lectures and excellent quizzes.\n\nLecturer Mike Brown, enthusiastic about his subject, generous in sharing his knowledge, humorous, and honest.

GN

Nov 29, 2017

Challenging. Amazing. Mind-Blowing.\n\nSpace enthusiasts should totally do this course. And yeah, did I say that Mike Brown is the coolest teacher ever. Never a dull moment in the lectures. :)

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26 - 50 of 163 Reviews for The Science of the Solar System

By Santanu C

Jun 10, 2020

This has been a brilliant journey of 10 weeks. I learnt a lot of new things about our solar system, our sister planet Mars, and even the small comets and asteroids. This course taught us about the evolution of solar system, how we can search for life in distant systems and how much research is actively taking place in these fields. Professor Brown always incorporated research papers and real data to teach us most of the topics, this gave us an idea how to analyze data and why it is important to be skeptical while studying science. The quizzes have been thought-provoking. I am also glad to have had access to the vast resources and research papers that we were exposed to. Thank You. Looking forward to more courses from Caltech ( and may be Prof. Brown :) )

By Rashmi M

Aug 03, 2020

An exceptionally well structured course which not just gives facts but tells how planetary scientists go about things and how do they do, what they do. Mike Brown as a teacher is amazing, never a dull moments in class. The quizzes help kind of summarize entire leanings. It has guest lecturers assess well as a field trip. It is the best Coursera course that I have taken till now. I am glad I took this. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in space, whether you have a bit of prior knowledge or none at all. This is a must course for people interested in space. I can go on and on. But you get my point, right? Just go for the course :)

By kevin k

Jun 04, 2018

I am overwhelmed. This was an excellent course and Dr. Brown was one of the best knowledgable scientists and lecturers I have ever seen. It's been more than a few decades since I was last in a University classroom (Canada) and I found that this coursera format makes a great balance of online learning, and testing for knowledge acquired. Back to the content, sure there are some issues... numerous typos in transcripts, quiz material, bad audio in many spots, but when it worked 90%+ of the time it was exhilarating! Busy for the summer but come the fall (northern hemisphere) I will look for other courses by him.

By Simon C

Apr 08, 2016

Who only five stars? Because that is all I have to give. I'm sorry, this course deserves more.

I am repeating this course,but not because I need to. I passed last year, but I know that there will be new material that I want to learn. I'm pleased to see that there are familiar faces from last year.

Prof. Mike Brown obviously know his stuff, and enjoys communicating it to students. There are plenty of references for students who want to explore things further. The discussion forums are excellent, with people sharing information, and Mike somehow finds the time to monitor the forums and contribute to the discussion.

By Richard H

Aug 13, 2017

Having now taken a couple other Coursera MOOCs, I'm getting the feeling this one is even more exceptionally good than I realized when I took it. Aside from a few videos it's mostly presented by Prof. Mike Brown, who is erudite, engaging, and accomplished. The course emphasizes not the "what" but the "why" and "how" of the evolution of the Solar System. I like to think I'm fairly well informed about astronomy and astrophysics at a lay outsider's level but I learned a lot from this course. Remind me to re-take it after he revises it to cover the discovery (any year now) of Planet 9!

By Jocelino R

Aug 15, 2016

Very good lecturer - keeps things interesting and uses of figures and results from published peer-reviewed papers. Explains things from first principles and does a very in depth historical analysis of the topics studied.

Only criticism I would give would be to have more regular feedback or tests regarding what is learnt. There are 4 topics in this course for the 10 week duration and there's only a test at the end of each topic. A test at the end of each week would keep students on their toes.

Nevertheless, still a 5 star course. Thanks for letting me take this!

By David G

Jul 25, 2020

Professor Mike Brown does an excellent job of enthusiastically presenting the discoveries and future missions for the solar system. I found the subject matter to be fascinating. I needed to take extra time to study for the tests, because it was sometimes difficult to harvest the most important points from the plethora of information being taught. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the course, and I would recommend it for aspiring planet scientists and lifelong learners. Thank you Professor Brown, and I wish you continued success in your future endeavors!

By Scott M

Sep 03, 2017

This is a great course. I'm a regular guy with no science education, just a keen interest in science and astronomy. The lectures delivered by Mike Brown and guests are clear and high quality, so even I could follow along. The mid-lecture questions, weekly quizzes, and final exam are designed to make you think about what you have learned rather than just regurgitate facts - this really helped me with the learning process. I just need to learn how to take better lecture notes for future courses. Thank you to all involved for an excellent ten weeks :)

By Danilo K M

Jul 31, 2020

Mike Brown is such a great professor. He makes the subjects, the classes so interesting so that you really want to learn more. I'm really going to miss him on my weeks, even though we never actually meet in real life.

Every class was interesting and I learnt many things, even for me that does not belong to the astronomy field, I will say that they are a little hard, even more if you do not have some background of science, but if you but some effort it is totally worth and rewarding.

By Peter M

Jun 27, 2016

This is an absolutely amazing class. You will learn a great deal about the story behind our solar system, and the competing theories behind some of what has happened. It's wonderful, interesting, and at times even funny. It is worth every second of frustration and effort I put in.

I only took two science classes in college. If you have never taken a college level science class, this may be difficult. But it is extremely rewarding. If you struggle, keep fighting. You'll get there!

By Ray G

May 30, 2020

I really enjoyed the Science of the solar system course, Mike Brown was both informative and engaging and I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to gain a wider understand of our solar system.

The content of the course was set out in easy to follow steps that walked you through our our solar system from Mars, to the gas and ice giants and what part they played in shaping the solar system we see today.

Once again a big thank you fro providing this on line course......

By Richard E

Jun 01, 2018

This was definitely an excellent course, presenting interleaved layman and technical perspectives of our solar system. Not quite 5 stars but certainly better than 4 stars. Some issues: (1) Missing lecture transcripts. (2) The transcripts frequently need manual clean-up. (3) The case made for why Pluto is not a planet needs the addition of a more rigorous discussion of what should the definition of a planet be. I'd love to see a debate between Dr. Brown and Dr. Alan Stern!

By Jana K

Oct 14, 2019

I absolutely loved how the lections were prepared, I felt like I was having one to one conversations and I felt curious for next and next lecture. I was more interested in the lections starting with the 5th week - focused on Jupiter and outer Solar System as the first 4 weeks were focused on Mars, though even this topic was handled in an interesting way. I recommend this course as it gives a very nice overview of our Solar system, full on astonishing facts.

By Matthew F

Jun 18, 2020

Highly recommended - fascinating course run an incredibly engaging and clearly passionate professor.

I took the course as I had a casual interest in the subject, but it has made me question how I can incorporate further learning of the solar system (and beyond) into my career.

Many thanks for the time and expertise, including from the fascinating guest lecturers, put into creating and running this taster of what we have to learn from the solar system.

By Bart R

May 09, 2017

I enjoyed this course tremendously. It was awesome to see how Mike Brown and his colleagues would explain not only what is known about the solar system, but also how these hypotheses came into being and (often) were proved. There was a good mix between things that you could conceptually grasp without knowing physics, chemistry or math too much without the course being too easy or too devoid of depth. I highly recommend this course.

By Lucien B

Jun 01, 2020

Great course ! I learnt a lot, Prof Brown is extremely good and and keeps an open minded posture and brings great depth of perspective to the training. He managed to keep the content as accessible (assuming prior knowledge of BSc physics and maths to get all the info)

I wish my teachers were as good during university and grad school :) it makes me somehow regret not choosing astronomy as a PhD. Tough but so exciting topic !!

By David R

May 09, 2020

Great course and ample knowledge to get from it, very well updated within reasonable manner.

I found it very well prepared, useful and easy to follow, also allowing great room for working on every subject. I appreciate the proper differentiation among facts, currently accepted theories, alternative possibilities and. opinions.

Congratulations for a really great job preparing the course and keeping it updated.

By Monika K

Apr 27, 2016

I love Prof Brown's enthusiasm. He is very engaging, clearly he enjoys reaching so many students around the world. His efforts are much appreciated!

I'm taking this course more from data science's point of view. I need to understand concepts and a bit of physics and maths in order to run my tests but not to the degree of an astronomer (not yet, anyway). It's been hugely educational and interesting.

By Luis A

Apr 05, 2016

While there are a few technical issues, this is an awesome course. Not only is it is very detailed and informative, but entertaining and sometimes even amusing. Being so detailed and informative, a lot of the material is quite challenging. The tests in particular are tough. However, I highly recommend this course because it will make you really appreciate astronomy as a field and the solar system.

By Dr. I D

Dec 21, 2016

The Science of the Solar System is well worth taking and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in astronomy. Professor Brown is a wonderful teacher; he presents the course lectures in a style that promotes understanding, explaining facts carefully and fluently, often with a touch of humour. The guest lecturers also present their contributions in a focused and enjoyable manner.

By Cade H

Jun 21, 2017

This is an excellent course. It covers a wide range of interesting topics in a technical but accessible way. The information is "layered" such that students of different technical backgrounds can all participate and each take the appropriate level of detail away. Dr. Brown communicates clearly and engagingly, and he is an astronomical "rock star" taking time to teach all comers.

By Terry L L

Jul 18, 2017

I am a social scientist and this course filled a very large void in my knowledge. While data for social scientists are gathered in the here-and-now with subjects being only a few feet away, I have learned to respect how astromers must gatherdata points that are millions of years old AND millions of miles away. Good luck, Professor Brown, with your work on Lucy!

By ertan y

Sep 20, 2017

Awesome! Completing this course gave me the ability to form my own opinions about developments of space exploration. I learned not just raw info about the solar system but also the methods the astronomers use in order to explore the universe and find out about its origins, going back billions of years ago. Just what I expected from this course.

By Kim

May 28, 2017

The more you hear in this class, the more you will look up at the night sky in awe and wonder. Do it, and tell a friend! :-)

The video lectures are a fantastic and entertaining look at the puzzles of our solar system, how some of the answers are being teased out, and the special world of astronomy in general.