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What is reality? That's the subject of this series of 36 lectures. We think we know what reality is, but most people don't take the time to think about how popular paradigms color their world view. For instance, we all know that the universe is full of billions of galaxies. But 100 years ago, we all knew that the universe was basically just what you could see in the night sky. Before that we all knew that the universe was the sun, moon, 7 planets and a bunch of lights embedded in a crystalline sphere that encircled the earth.
Aristotle taught that an apple dropped to the ground because it was trying to find it's natural place - an apple does what an apple does. Newton taught that the apple drops because of the relationship between the apple and the earth, this relationship being defined by gravity. Now we teach that "things" are merely sensory illusions brought about by the interaction of various quantum fields.
When I was finishing graduate school and getting ready for the dreaded oral exam, I took two weeks and reread every one of my undergraduate textbooks, cover to cover. I remember thinking how much more sense it all made when you saw it all at once instead of having it parceled out over one or two semesters. That's what this course is like.
These lectures cover all of science, including the social sciences, and are without a doubt the best presentation of science I've ever read. There's not much here that I hadn't already been exposed to, but the lectures are so clear that it all makes much more sense. The lectures are full of simple, every day, and often humorous, illustrations of every aspect of science.
Also included is a little philosophy and the arts, as these subjects relate to reality. This is the first time I can truly say I understand what Descartes meant when he wrote "I think, therefore I am".
I wish that this course was required for every school student. The information is vast, but the presentation is simple enough that anyone can understand it. The course includes not only the hard sciences, but sociology and psychology. The chapter on behavioral science - and how it's used by politicians, pundits and advertisers to influence people is actually a little terrifying.
The course is 18 hours in Audible format - 30 minutes per lecture. If you have a 30 minute commute you can complete it in just 18 days, and you'll have an awesome understanding not only of the great sweep of human knowledge but how that knowledge shapes our perception of what we call "reality".
103 of 105 people found this review helpful
I liked Professor Gimbel's explanations of the different areas of science. He did a good job explaining how the science came into being. What questions the science is trying to solve. I found his explanations of relativity and quantum mechanics very good. It helped me understand these areas that fascinate me from a outsiders view a little better.
These lectures start at the lowest quantum levels and go all the way up to cosmic levels. Then the lectures follow the same kind of path of understanding humans going from psychology to sociology. The last lecture talks about big data analytics and how amazingly predictable humans surprisingly are. Interesting stuff. It's long but I am glad I listened.
45 of 46 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Redefining Reality in three words, what would they be?
Fascinating, enlightening, fun
Who was your favorite character and why?
The Prof. His humour is dry and very funny.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
It's a long story. I battled a bit with the maths at the start, but once through that, it all flowed easily
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I laughed frequently.
Any additional comments?
A fantastic use of 18 hours. I'll go through it again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
a really excellent lecture series and delivered in an interesting and witty way. Cannot recommend highly enough.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is an ambitious series - deftly combining science, history and philosophy. If you had no prior knowledge of these fields, this would be an incredible series. The delivery and narrative is fun. The major loose arguments, threads and themes are wound together, across lectures and millenia.
Personally, I didn't learn a lot. There is only a cursory investigation into each topic, given the breadth of content. Yet, the way in which this content is brought together is creative and inspiring.
the only problem with this audiobook is that it finished. it was intriguing and left you wanting more