Top Rated Product

<p>The force of gravity rules the universe, yet it is one of the least understood of all the forces of nature. The study of gravity helped spark the Scientific Revolution in the 17th century, and it continues to be at the forefront of physics today. Now, in <strong>Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity</strong>, plunge into this compelling subject in 24 intensively illustrated lectures, presented by Professor Benjamin Schumacher. This course covers the key ideas in gravity research over the past 400 years and gives you the background to understand today’s path-breaking theories in physics.</p>

Average Customer Rating:

4.7

out of 5

(26 Reviews) 24
Rating Snapshot (26 reviews)

5 stars

21

4 stars

2

3 stars

3

2 stars

0

1 star

0

"24 of 26(92%)reviewers would recommend the course to a friend."

Customer Reviews for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Review 1 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

lzrdoc

Location:Phoenix, AZ

Gravity - an eye opener

Date:February 20, 2014

" We tend to take gravity for granted ... the apple falls from the tree. How can this require 24 lectures? However, Professor Schumacher takes this basic premise, using an historical perspective, and takes the viewer on a journey of discovery into what gravity really is, and isn't. He is a great teacher, always engaging the audience, and able to put complex concepts into a framework that can be understood by the non-astrophysicist even though they are not intuitive. And, as indicated in the title, concepts including tides and black holes are integrated into this grand concept of gravity. Professor Schumacher does a wonderful job in laying out what turns out to be a very interesting, yet complex, topic.
"

+29points

29out of 29found this review helpful.

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Review 2 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

SDMark

Location:San Diego, CA

Opens up a difficult subject to the layperson

Date:January 17, 2014

" This course offers a good historical, largely qualitative introduction to students interested in the study of gravity. The mathematics in the course are not so rigorous as to alienate viewers with a modest background in Algebra, but probably won't satisfy the student seeking a more quantitative exploration of gravity.

My background is in accounting and economics and I had no trouble following the equations. In a number of places, professor Schumacher obviously employs metaphor as substitute for mathematics, which, again, may or may not appeal to one, depending on his or her background.

As far as content goes, although much of the material on gravity and black holes is covered in earlier Great Courses, in my opinion, there is enough new material and fresh takes on the topics here to warrant the purchase.

One thing deserves special mention. The professor did a superb job of anticipating and addressing questions which occurred to me during the lectures. One such question involved how black holes are believed to have formed at the center of galaxies. As this particular lecture wound to a close, I felt certain that he would not answer the question, but, in the end, he did. This occurred several times during each lecture and I can't applaud professor Schumacher enough for it.

If one is new to the subject, perhaps professor Filippenko's excellent course on Astronomy and/or professor Carroll's equally excellent series, "Dark Matter, Dark Energy," might help to lay the groundwork for this course.
"

My Product Recommendations

+44points

44out of 44found this review helpful.

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Review 3 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

3
out of
5

Course Content:

3
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

3
out of
5

Course Value:

2
out of
5

pookey

Location:Lawrenceville, NJ

A physicts view of gravity

Date:February 3, 2015

" Professor Schumacher's lectures were word for word of what was in the guidebook that came with the course. One could just read the guidebook and not watch the disc. The only extra thing the disc provided was some pictures of the cosmos and diagrams of descriptive models in the guidebook. His lectures were filled with physics equations to back up his points. Those who just want a basic understanding of gravity and not accustomed to heavy math equations might become put off by so many equations and not finish the course. Without the time on the equations the course would be only 6 lectures long. He also seems to have a very extreme regard for Newton though Einstein and others have corrected some of his theories. His lecture on the quantum physics of gravity was very weak and could have been omitted from the course. I wouldn't recommend this for anyone who wants just a basic understanding of gravity, especially for one who isn't acquainted with mathematical equations.
"

-3points

0out of 3found this review helpful.

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Review 4 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

AZSteve

Location:Arizona, USA

Concepts Clearly Explained

Date:January 31, 2015

" I was a physics major and can confirm that only the most basic general relativity was offered to undergraduates. There are two reasons for that. First, undergraduates don't yet have the mathematics to master general relativity. Even Einstein needed help with the math! Second, undergraduates need to cover lots of other areas of physics as well. (To ensure my education was not unusual, I confirmed this with a friend who agreed they had the same experience as a physics major at a different college. Ok, a sample space of two, but that's all I had time for.)

How, then, could Schumacher teach this course? Instead of spending a great many lectures on teaching us math, he instead concentrates on concepts. And I, for one, believe he did an excellent job with those concepts. I really enjoyed this course and have a much better understanding of gravity. His explanations are clear and the drawings, graphics, and other illustrations really helped.

Although I have a physics background, I think anyone could understand the concepts in this course. I have all of Schumacher's courses and can't wait for him to do more.
"

My Product Recommendations

+4points

4out of 4found this review helpful.

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Review 5 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

Pelagic

Location:Vero Beach FL

Excellent explanation of a difficult topic

Date:January 31, 2015

" It's difficult for a non-physicist to wrap the mind around the concept of space-time, but the professor does an excellent job of explaining gravity in a reasonably understandable way. Combined with some other courses, such as those on Time and Quantum Mechanics, the universe is becoming a little more clear.
"

+1point

1out of 1found this review helpful.

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Review 6 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

JohnFD

Location:queens, ny

Difficult, but I would recommend to anyone

Date:January 8, 2015

" The concepts regarding gravity are very abstract and complex, but the professor uses analogies, concrete examples, and visual aids to make them more accessible. He starts with easily understood math and builds on that to what would otherwise be abstruse equations. He humanizes the subject by giving an historic and philosophical background. The course is well balanced in that he emphasizes both the theoretical and experimental aspects of the science. Moreover, his love of physics is infectious. Because of his enthusiasm and knowledge I would recommend this course to anyone.
"

+1point

1out of 1found this review helpful.

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Review 7 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

AAGMEX

Location:Queretaro, México

Great presentation

Date:January 2, 2015

" Es la mejor explicación respecto a la teoría de la relatividad que he oído. Excelente presentación y excelente conocimiento del tema. Por mucho el mejor video de los que he comprado a esta empresa.
"

+3points

3out of 3found this review helpful.

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Review 8 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

BJH12345

Location:Arkansas

Bravo

Date:December 30, 2014

" If I could give Professor Schumacher 6 stars I would. Having read fairly widely in physics as a non-scientist before I bought and viewed this course, I brought some high expectations to it. Professor Schumacher hit the mark precisely with this course. It's a fascinating and exceedingly professional presentation. I'm convinced that if more young adults had science professors of this caliber then we'd have more scientists. Very well done, Professor.
"

+3points

3out of 3found this review helpful.

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Review 9 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

LateBloomer47

Location:Florida

Date:December 3, 2014

" During lectures he reminds the viewer of the lecture numbers which give a full explanation of the principles being referenced in the current lecture. Like a hyperlink in a pdf. Very helpful.
"

+1point

1out of 1found this review helpful.

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Review 10 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

donnyb

Date:October 16, 2014

This customer did not provide a text review.

-1point

0out of 1found this review helpful.

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Review 11 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

3
out of
5

Course Content:

3
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

4
out of
5

Course Value:

2
out of
5

DanRoy

Location:San Antonio, Texas

Many ambiguities and even errors

Date:August 10, 2014

" I could forgive minor errors such as "Galileo invented the telescope" and "Laplace was born an Italien" but the misleading graphics for the eotvos experiment and even the explanation of the tides reminded me of similar problems with another course I bought (quantum mechanics). It is not bad to have to go to Wikipedia to get the story straight but I am not accustomed to this from the Teaching Company.
"

+14points

16out of 18found this review helpful.

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Review 12 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Otrman

Location:New Jersey

One of the Best - A Home Run

Date:August 6, 2014

" Professor Schumacher has done a masterful job of giving all of us a thorough introduction to the many concepts presented in this course. There was just enough math to illustrate his lectures. Whenever he used a term that he wasn't sure it familiar to the audience, he carefully explained.

I especially liked his out from behind the lectern approach to teaching. He handled some complex topics with an aplomb only possible with both confidence in his knowledge and his teaching style.

Excellent! I recommend it.

Henry
"

+2points

3out of 4found this review helpful.

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Review 13 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

PeterG

Location:CT

Hard Topic Made Accessible

Date:June 1, 2014

" Once again, Dr. Schumacher has nailed it. He's incredibly clear, concise, articulate in a way that's inviting us to, in a sense, participate in his explanation and excitement of the topic.

He repeats and reviews previously presented concepts all throughout the course such that by the end the important concepts have been driven home.

Whereas he does derive (in a very simplistic way, of course) the equation of the "curvature" of spacetime, he does it in a completely logical and understandable way - he simplifies the concepts but takes it to the next level where important.

His lectures have spanned Quantum Mechanics, unusual Physics, and now Spacetime. I look forward to his next course no matter what it might be. He is clearly one of the finest lecturers in The Great Courses roster and this is one of the best courses.
"

+7points

7out of 7found this review helpful.

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Review 14 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

ForeverCurious

Location:Houston, TX

Date:March 18, 2014

" Purchased this course to fill in the blanks left over from previous astronomy and cosmology courses purchased from the Teaching Company. The course and course content far exceeded my expectations. What Greenberg is to music, Schumaker is to physics and astronomy. Course material covered the history of gravity science from Galileo to Einstein and beyond. But beyond its historical perspective, gravitational concepts were presented which allowed an understanding of how the Universe works and some insight into the problems facing science today in marrying Newtonian gravity with Quantum theory. Complex issues were discussed clearly. Some familiarity with basic algebra is required to fully comprehend the complex issues presented. A first class course!
"

+6points

6out of 6found this review helpful.

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Review 15 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

LongTimeCustomer

Location:Piedmont, CA

Wow

Date:January 9, 2014

" I was already familiar with many of the concepts in this course but the presentation was so compelling that the sum was far more than the parts. The words that come to mind, insightful, provocative, thought provoking, profound are all insufficient. What a truly wonderful synthesis of so many related topics.

My only regret is that I have but 5 stars to give to this course!
"

+6points

8out of 10found this review helpful.

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Review 16 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

PKPearson

Location:Aptos, CA

An excellent survey

Date:December 4, 2013

" Prof. Schumacher has a knack for reaching the most interesting pinnacles of the subject with a minimum of background preliminaries. It's good that he didn't attempt this class under the frequent "no equations" constraint, but also good that he kept the equations to an unintimidating level. This class is for the student looking for the meaning behind the equations, and Prof. Schumacher focusses on that meaning. I'm content to look for the mathematical details elsewhere.
"

+22points

24out of 26found this review helpful.

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Review 17 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

Dickie

Location:Chicago

Far Out!

Date:November 14, 2013

" The professor is a great teacher. His presentation on Newtonian Physics and Relativity is outstanding, however the concepts beyond those were beyond my comprehension. I will be revisiting those chapters from time to time hoping to grasp curved space time. Be prepared to use the reverse button.
"

+10points

15out of 20found this review helpful.

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Review 18 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

5
out of
5

Course Content:

5
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

prbarnes

Location:Nashville, TN

Excellent course on general relativity

Date:October 23, 2013

" This course by Professor Schumacher is one of the best presentations of the topic of gravity and general relativity that I have ever encountered. It is the first treatment of the entire topic that actually explains in depth, and with mathematical details, exactly what gravity, space, spacetime, spacetime curvature and many other related facets of this subject are about. He presents the material in a very lively and engaging manner, on a technical level that enables one to understand what the gravitational phenomenon is actually all about. I commend him for this series of lectures, and would heartily recommend the course to everyone who is interested in the the physics of the dynamics of motion and time. He has finally brought me to an understanding of general relativity at a level that any person of a reasonably advanced technical skill level can enjoy. Rather than simply explain the subject in general terms, as almost all other non-university courses do, he has educated me on how gravity actually works, what Newton, Einstein and the many other scientists have done to increase our knowledge of the universe.
"

+36points

40out of 44found this review helpful.

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Review 19 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

3
out of
5

Course Content:

3
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

5
out of
5

Course Value:

5
out of
5

Ahmed

Location:New Jersey

excellent presentation and so so content

Date:October 6, 2013

" professor Schumacher presentation is always superb, but i was disappointed on the historical events that the professor presented, for example it is well known that Newton has deduced his gravity law from Kepler's third law not that Newton has invented calculus to bring the gravity law about. this fallacy is in every college course, and this is not correct, actually there is a theory that all the laws of mechanics that newton has published were deduced from kepler's laws, and particularly the gravity law was manufactured from the Kepler's third law. please refer to "explanations :styles in explanation of science" book .

and the 4pi squared in the G constant that Newton proposed was never been explained by him or where he got it from, the answer is easy, it appeared naturally from the third law .

please google this fact and find out yourself... (aside from reviewing this course, Newton was a very mean person and also had problems on calculus invention with Leibnitz .

who invented it first? we never knew.

I hope this wouldn't sound that i look down at Newton, not at all, i'm no body to review one of the best minds of the scientific community ever lived. unfortunately this is the real history that we never learned in school).

but the course is enjoyable like all prof. Schumacher's courses...highly recommended. "

and the 4pi squared in the G constant that Newton proposed was never been explained by him or where he got it from, the answer is easy, it appeared naturally from the third law .

please google this fact and find out yourself... (aside from reviewing this course, Newton was a very mean person and also had problems on calculus invention with Leibnitz .

who invented it first? we never knew.

I hope this wouldn't sound that i look down at Newton, not at all, i'm no body to review one of the best minds of the scientific community ever lived. unfortunately this is the real history that we never learned in school).

but the course is enjoyable like all prof. Schumacher's courses...highly recommended. "

-37points

18out of 73found this review helpful.

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Comments (1)

Comments (1)

Ahmed

New Jersey

Top 1000 Contributor

correction

Posted October 7, 2013

i am sorry i made a typo error .

the 4pi squared in the K constant of kepler's third law not the G constant.

the 4pi squared in the K constant of kepler's third law not the G constant.

-2points

15out of 32found this comment helpful.

Review 20 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

Overall Rating:

4
out of
5

Course Content:

4
out of
5

Professor Presentation:

4
out of
5

Course Value:

4
out of
5

BGZRedux

Location:Princeton, NJ

Very, Very Basic. A Good First Course in Gravity.

Date:October 3, 2013

" The title of this course seems to promise a cutting edge, in-depth look at some of the most exciting areas of modern astrophysics and cosmology. But, as has often been advisable with recent science and math offerings, beware of Great Courses bearing grandiose titles.

Instead, we are provided with a very basic introduction to the physics of gravity. The first half nicely follows the historical trail from Copernicus to Galileo to Brahe and Kepler, and finally to the extraordinary genius of Isaac Newton. Each storyline builds on those preceding, until we arrive at Newton's three laws of motion and his insight into the nature of gravity as a universal force.

The level of the presentation is so elementary, however, that if you remember anything of a high school physics course you are likely to learn little that you do not already know.

The second half deals with Einstein's brilliant re-imagining of gravity as curved spacetime, and covers his special and general theories of relativity, as well as some of their consequences such as black holes, the big bang, and the search for a theory of quantum gravity.

If you think this sounds like a lot to ask of twelve brief lectures which assume zero prior knowledge, you're right. The storyline here is not nearly so neat. More importantly, some of the most complex and counter-intuitive concepts in all of science are over-simplified to the point where, often, only the most general impression can be gained.

Now, I want to be clear - none of this is necessarily a criticism! It is only meant to let you know what to expect. If you know nothing about Newtonian mechanics or Einstein's relativity, this would indeed be a very good place to start learning. Just be aware of the limitations. If you do have a reasonable, even if elementary, background in these areas, you would do better to go directly to one of the Great Courses' many excellent more advanced physics courses - including Professor Schumacher's own outstanding course on quantum mechanics!

And Professor Schumacher is a fine professor. He is obviously highly knowledgeable, is enthusiastic about teaching his subject, has a smooth and pleasant delivery, and is able to express the ideas as well as they can be expressed, given the clear and significant constraint of aiming at an audience with no prior knowledge of the math or physics involved.

A word about the little bit of mathematics included: For each physics course there are reviewers who prefer more and those who prefer less math. Obviously this will depend a lot on your background and proclivities. However, the math here (and there is truly very little of it) is generally not helpful. It almost seems included just to let you see what the equations look like, as an aesthetic experience. The verbal explanations are much more informative, and if you don't find the equations helpful, you would do well to simply ignore them.

Again, to be clear - I find this topic to be incredibly fascinating and profoundly rewarding to study, both to enable an understanding of the extraordinary nature of our universe, and to provide a deep appreciation of the ability of human beings to understand it. The Great Courses, to its credit, offers a plethora of astrophysics and cosmology courses. Unless you plan to take all of them, it is worth choosing carefully.
"

+55points

61out of 67found this review helpful.

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