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Publisher's Summary

Classical physics is about how things move, why they move, and how they work. It's about making sense of motion, gravity, light, heat, sound, electricity, and magnetism, and seeing how these phenomena interweave to create the rich tapestry of everyday experience. It is, in short, the hidden order of the universe. And if it sounds complicated to you, Professor Pollock hopes you will think again - because you already know more physics than you think, In this mind-expanding series of 24 lectures, Professor Steven Pollock takes you step by step through the great ideas of classical physics, demonstrating that its landmark concepts - such as Newton's laws of motion - are intuitively understood by anyone who has ever ridden a bike, thrown a ball, slid across ice, or simply picked up an object and set it down.
Created over the course of three centuries by a series of brilliant thinkers, including Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell, classical physics is an elegant system of ideas that connect a range of seemingly unrelated phenomena - everything from the acceleration of a car, to the orbit of a planet, to the deflection of a compass needle, to the baking of a cake, to the flow of electricity through the light bulb illuminating these words.
All these - and much more - are linked by the basic principles you will learn in these lectures - presented largely without math. Instead, Professor Pollock relies on metaphor, life experience, ordinary logic, and common sense to present the discoveries, theories, insights, methods, and philosophical points of view at the heart of classical physics.

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

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By C. D. White on 03-29-14

Enthusiastic Professor Captured My Interest

Would you consider the audio edition of Great Ideas of Classical Physics to be better than the print version?

This series of lectures is not available in print.

What other book might you compare Great Ideas of Classical Physics to and why?

This is my first comprehensive survey of classical physics. But, I can compare it to a very good Coursera class I took on the principles of mechanical physics. That course focussed on the way things work. This lecture series puts the discoveries of the principles of motion, fields, thermodynamics, and other areas of basic physics into the context of each discoverer's life and personality, the historical thinking at the time, and the impacts of the discoveries. These contexts enriched my understanding of physics in ways I did not expect. The discovered principles are all the more interesting when seen in their human contexts. I learned that what I thought of as"old fashioned" classical physics is the very same modern physics that takes us into space, to the moon, the planets and beyond. I think that "readers" with more knowledge of physics than I have (and those with less) would equally enjoy this lecture series.

Have you listened to any of Professor Steven Pollock’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I would be happy to listen to him again.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Physics? No.

Any additional comments?

My only wish would be that there were twice as many lectures. I was left hungry for more. Although this series is not meant to leave you filled with mathematical formulae and the "rules" of physics, the professor does refer you to an excellent website with animated details of the physical details. And, I found myself searching the web after every lecture to follow up on his enticing information.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By QuantumNorth on 01-03-18

Only listen to if you are a novice to Physics

What did you like best about Great Ideas of Classical Physics? What did you like least?

This course is a decent overview of the basic ideas behind physics; it covers many of the topics that you would see in the the first two college-level introductory physics classes. However, if you've already taken these classes or know the material, the professor does not add any new or exciting perspectives to the subject. He treats the audience as complete beginners and moves slowly for their sake.

Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

Yes, The Great Courses does have many great audiobooks; however, this one was too basic and moved too slowly for my skill level.

Did Professor Steven Pollock do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?


If this book were a movie would you go see it?


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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Chris on 09-20-15

Fascinating Overview of 300 years of Physics

This course covers about 250 years of physical theory and experiments, starting from Newtonian mechanics and ending with the beginnings of the quantum and relativistic revolutions. It does so in an engaging and insightful way, without concentrating too much on the mathematics, rather looking at simple everyday examples and easy to understand experiments.

The lecturer is clearly very talented at bringing complex ideas down to a level understandable by the non-scientist and he has chosen some of the most interesting scientific ideas to discuss.

I learned a great deal from this course, and the stuff I knew before was definitely getting rusty. My favourite bit was certainly the explanation of Maxwell's equations, and the connection between electromagnetism and light.

This course is extremely enjoyable and I thoroughly recommend it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lucia Ramos on 01-31-15

Outstanding series!

Great ideas of classical physics for regular people; it should say.
Short lectures, about half hour each, so they are easy to pause and leave for letter when your brain starts to overload with information.
That being said, the lectures are amazingly well-written, and not matter how much or how little you know about physics, this series will grip you and leave you wanting more.

really, really recommended. I cannot stress this enough, You should give it a listen.

Good performance by Professor S. Pollock as well. Very happy about that

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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