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list 8 sequences
assignment Level : Introductory
label Physics
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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credit_card Free access
verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 80 hours in total

About the content

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!).

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  • Week 1 - Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context
    Week 1: Introduction to the Course, and Einstein in Context
  • Week 2 - Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames
    Week 2: Events, Clocks, and Reference Frames
  • Week 3 - Ethereal Problems and Solutions
    Week 3: Ethereal Problems and Solutions
  • Week 4 - The Weirdness Begins
    Week 4: The Weirdness Begins
  • Week 5 - Spacetime Switches
    Week 5: Spacetime Switches
  • Week 6 - Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit
    Week 6: Breaking the Spacetime Speed Limit
  • Week 7 - Paradoxes to Ponder
    Week 7: Paradoxes to Ponder
  • Week 8 - To the Center of the Galaxy and Back
    Week 8: To the Center of the Galaxy and Back


Larry Randles Lagerstrom
Academic Director


Content Designer

Stanford University

Leland Stanford Junior University, better known as Stanford University, is a private American university located in Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco.

Its motto is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht", which means "The wind of freedom blows".

Ranked among the world's top universities in most international rankings, it enjoys great prestige.




Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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