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Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity

<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:
4.714 out of 5
4.7
 out of 
5
(28 Reviews) 26
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (28 reviews)
5 stars
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"262893%of reviewers would recommend this series to a friend."
Customer Questions & Answers:
3 Questions | 12 Answers
Customer Reviews for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Review 1 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+35points
35out of 35found this review helpful.
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Review 2 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+55points
55out of 55found this review helpful.
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Review 3 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Vienna, Austria
another brilliant physics course from TGC
Date:May 16, 2015
" i love how the TGC physics courses help you unlearn most of the nonsense you were fed at school - you end up with a picture of our cosmos you can only marvel about and the realization that we still have a looong way to go in our understanding. Professor Schumacher can explain complicated stuff extremely well, even better than Sean Carroll, who is another favourite from the TGC courses. I hope to see more courses by these brilliant teachers in the future. Keep up the good work! :) "
 
My Product Recommendations
 
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 4 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
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5 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Baltimore, Md.
Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Space Time
Date:March 9, 2015
" The Professor makes what is a very difficult subject quite understandable. The brief descriptions of the various individuals who were so important in the development of our knowledge of this subject was greatly appreciated.
His examples of how to under the complex mathematics was a definite boon. This course certainly helped me bring together the disparate pieces of information that i already knew about this subject.
"
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
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Review 5 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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. "
-6points
2out of 10found this review helpful.
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Review 6 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
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Review 7 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
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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 8 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+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
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5 out of 5
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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. "
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
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Review 10 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 11 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 12 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:October 16, 2014
This customer did not provide a text review.
-1point
0out of 1found this review helpful.
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Review 13 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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. "
+16points
18out of 20found this review helpful.
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Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
Stormy
Ambiguities and Errors
Posted March 4, 2015
First, I have just begun the course so am not ready to review it. Further I have not checked the accuracy of the information in question. What I do question however, is the reliability of Wikipedia. At the high school where I teach it is locked on the school's network as a research source for our students due to its poor reliability history. It has its uses, but if and when I do look up any facts I need to check, it will not be on Wikipedia.
+2points
2out of 2found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 14 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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 "
+3points
4out of 5found this review helpful.
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Review 15 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
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Review 16 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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! "
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
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Review 17 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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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! "
+7points
9out of 11found this review helpful.
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Review 18 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+23points
25out of 27found this review helpful.
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Review 19 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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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. "
+11points
16out of 21found this review helpful.
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Review 20 for Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime: Understanding Gravity
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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. "
+37points
41out of 45found this review helpful.
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