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Publisher's Summary

Science is humanity's greatest achievement. It ranges from the study of the universe itself to the smallest particles of matter contained within it - and everything in between. It explores everything from the big bang to theories about the end of the universe.
If you want to better understand our physical world, as most of us do, gaining a basic understanding of science itself is profoundly important - yet many are intimidated by the breathtaking scope of such an endeavor.
Now an award-winning science teacher has taken out the intimidation, harnessing that breathtaking scope into a series of 60 exciting, comprehensive, and accessible lectures that let you explore and understand the wealth of ideas, discoveries, and principles in all of the physical and biological sciences. You learn that understanding science comes from understanding not only its component disciplines - each of which has its own theories, pioneers, problems, and fundamental questions - but of knowing how these disciplines work with one another to create an entire mosaic of human knowledge.
The lectures have been crafted to make those relationships crystal-clear, with an integrated approach that takes you through all of the major disciplines that fall under the umbrella of "science," including physics, chemistry, Earth science, geophysics, and biology.
Each lecture covers one of the 60 fundamental principles of the scientific world - offering you new knowledge and insight into topics such as the scientific method, gravitation, atoms, the big bang, plate tectonics, volcanoes, proteins, ecosystems, and electricity.
©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By Mark on 09-30-13

Back to school

I knew when I downloaded this book that I was being a bit of a nerd, using up time that could have been spent listening to riveting fiction swotting up on chemistry, biology and physics. But I couldn’t resist it. Science is a big part of my job (I work in an intensive care unit) but I didn't opt for science at school, and although I know a fair amount about human biology I’m really aware of fundamental gaps in my knowledge concerning the basic sciences underpinning biology and science in general. This lecture series has definitely helped to fill those gaps.

He’s a pretty good lecturer, with a very good knack for explaining complex concepts using simple, helpful analogies. And the series is thoughtfully constructed so that it begins with the most fundamental concepts in science and then builds on this so that the listener acquires an overview of all human scientific endeavour by the end of the series.

Downsides? Well, it’s pretty old. These recordings were made in the 1990s, and whilst the basics of science haven’t changed significantly in those 20 years, you do keep wondering whether some of the modern scientific topics he mentions are still current (e.g. the large hadron collider and recent advances in medicine). He talks about global warming as if it’s just some controversial new theory that some scientists are working on, and the internet isn’t mentioned at all.

If you can tolerate the fact that it is dated and you want to learn more about the fundamentals of science, you should get this book. It is also great value, with 60 lectures for your one Audible credit.

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64 of 64 people found this review helpful


By Gabrielle on 11-19-13

beautiful and exciting

If you could sum up The Joy of Science in three words, what would they be?

comprehensive, understandable, exciting

Who was your favorite character and why?

I never realised that Faraday was so cool.

Any additional comments?

This course was excellent - it was comprehensive and enthralling and I learned so very much even though I already had a good understanding of science already. The details on various subjects are great for linking ideas across fields and the snippets of history told throughout contextualise the scientists and their discoveries beautifully so that the information is easy to remember and place. I loved this course, it was entertaining and I had so much to think about and talk about as a result of listening to it. Whether you have studied no science at school or have always been interested in science, this is a very good place to start your journey. It was indeed a 'joy'.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By jj_reviewerextraordinaire on 04-30-15

Fantastic Fundamentals

My younger self found great distraction at school and as such I seem to have walked away from the fundamentals of a good education with little to show for it!
As an adult I have a voracious appetite to know how things work, which is not supported by my missing education. These lectures help fill in some of those gaps!
I enjoyed learning all the topics and found the lecturer engaging. Although it can be heard that he is conducting some experiments during a lecture or two, and as an audio version those visuals are sadly lost. He also mentions hand outs that accompany the lectures, again this is left to imagination.
My one criticism is that during the lectures it becomes clear that the speaker is talking pre 2000, so with 15 years between the time of the talks until now, many new revelations may have been made in such a dynamic field.
Overall, very interesting and a great way to make one curious about the world's workings!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By PJaff on 12-13-15

Science lecture series

Great set of science lectures that I enjoyed listening to and intend to listen to again.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anand Manu on 12-13-17

A great course.

great course great presenter. gives a great overview of science for all ages gives you a great set of tools to talk to others about science

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By MR on 12-01-17

Drags, but really informative

[Voice Class=Neo]I know science.[/Voice Class]

Best run down of quintessential scientific concepts that I've ever heard. Entertaining enough to hold your focus, but detailed enough to generate some actual learning.

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