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What Einstein Got Wrong

Narrated by: Dan Hooper
Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

These 12 half-hour lectures are about what Einstein got wrong. He may have kindled a scientific revolution with his famous theory of relativity and his proof that atoms and light quanta exist, but he balked at accepting the most startling implications of these theories - such as the existence of black holes, the big bang, gravity waves, and mind-bendingly strange phenomena in the quantum realm. In a course that assumes no background in science and uses very little math, research physicist Dan Hooper of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Chicago focuses on Einstein's personal qualities that made him a heavy hitter with relativity but also a strikeout king in many of his other ideas.

You start with two lectures on Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, and in a later lecture you cover his founding role in quantum theory. All are titanic achievements. The balance of the course deals with his false starts, blind alleys, and outright blunders, which are fascinating for what they reveal about the give-and-take conduct of science. For example, the possibility of black holes, which are infinitely dense concentrations of matter, emerged from the equations of general relativity. However, the idea seemed so absurd to Einstein that he believed something in nature must prevent black holes from forming. He was wrong. Similar considerations led him to doubt the existence of gravity waves, insist that the universe must be static and eternal, and hold out for a deterministic theory that would solve the weird paradoxes of quantum mechanics. Again, he was wrong. Dr. Hooper closes with a lecture on the missteps of other great physicists - Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton - proving that Einstein is in good company. Even geniuses struggle to find the truth.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2017 The Great Courses

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Good Idea poorly executed

Dreadful narration. Reminded me of a newbie at presentations trying to sound interesting. I’ll be staying clear of great course content if this is typical.

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  • Timothy D. Sowell
  • 22-12-17

About More Than Just His Mistakes

While these lectures do indeed concern some mistakes Einstein made, there is a lot of background material on his work that is very interesting. Professor Hooper is a very engaging speaker and obviously well versed in the subject matter. If you have any interest in The General Theory of Relativity, Einstein's life and work, or the history of Physics in general, I think you will enjoy this work very much. I know I did!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Hendrick Mcdonald
  • 25-04-18

Journey thru modern physics

A good series of lectures provide an overview of many ideas of modern physics. From relativity to black holes, the expansion of space and the big bag, to quantum physics and its super positions thru entanglement and shares the story of Einstein’s part in all of these.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Josh Logan
  • 05-09-19

Pretty Darn Interesting

Readers with a familiarity with Einstein and Relativity will not find anything new or illuminating about science here.

What it succeeds with is reminding us that all of these amazing scientists we only remember only for what they got right also got a lot of things completely wrong -- which, for me, serves as a nice benchmark of hope that if we continue to work hard at something we believe in deeply that we might one day, even if accidentally, bumble into something marvelous.

And I appreciated that very much.

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  • Russell Bernard
  • 06-08-19

Very good

I found doctor Dan Hooper very interesting I don't know very much about Einstein or quantum theory and I found this to be a very good introduction. It was very mind-expanding in many ways not knowing much about that form of science. I guess that is why we listen to the Great Courses so we can learn more about subjects that we known very little about. I listen to the book light falls about Einstein and found it very interesting. This was a wonderful lecture series to help me understand more about the accomplishments of the theory of relativity

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  • Capital B
  • 27-10-18

Love Dan Hooper!!!! awesome lecture series!

great series covering a ton of great topics. my favorite and most memorable lecture was on the interpretations of quantum mechanics and how Einstein felt about the Copenhagen version. loved this series!! check out dans book dark cosmos on dark matter and dark energy
awesome read as well!!!! Well done Dan!!!