from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
BBC Inside Science: Coral, LIGO and physicsThursday, 8th October 2015 23:00 - BBC Radio 4This week on BBC Inside Science: coral resilience, gravitational waves and Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Read more: BBC Inside Science: Coral, LIGO and physics
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2015: Crisis at VW: A Bottom Line SpecialSaturday, 10th October 2015 17:30 - BBC Radio 4
The Great British Year: SpringMonday, 12th October 2015 21:00 - BBC Four
The Secret Life of Books: Series Two: The Faerie QueeneTuesday, 13th October 2015 20:30 - BBC Four
The Great British Year: WinterAvailable until Friday, 6th November 2015 22:00A frozen nation, but not a wasteland... Read more: The Great British Year: Winter
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2015: Crisis at VW: A Bottom Line SpecialAvailable until Friday, 7th October 2016 20:00
The ascent of woman: RevolutionAvailable until Friday, 6th November 2015 02:15
The world’s busiest railway 2015 – Mumbai Railway: Episode 4Available until Friday, 6th November 2015 01:15
Should the Tories be worried about their low membership numbers?The Conservative Party are enjoying a moment of victory - but although their future should be... Read more: Should the Tories be worried about their low membership numbers?
OpenLearn Live: 8th October 2015Poetry day - and two villages that aren't there. Then more free learning across the day. Read more: OpenLearn Live: 8th October 2015
Start writing fiction: characters and storiesThis free course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central... Try: Start writing fiction: characters and stories now
Succeed with maths – Part 1If you feel that maths is a mystery that you want to unravel then this short 8-week course is for... Try: Succeed with maths – Part 1 now
The restless Universe
The restless Universe introduces you to major achievements and figures in the history...
The restless Universe introduces you to major achievements and figures in the history of physics, from Copernicus to Einstein and beyond. The route from classical to quantum physics will be laid out for you without recourse to challenging mathematics but with the fundamental features of theories and discoveries described in sufficient detail to whet your appetite for further physics study.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- explain the meaning of all the emboldened terms introduced in this unit;
- explain what is meant by a physical world-view and describe some of the major world-views that have emerged during the evolution of physics;
- describe some of the major concepts of physics, give brief biographical sketches of some of the major contributors to the development of physics and name some of the major events that have helped to shape the subject;
- comment on some of the philosophical issues that are raised by the study of physics.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Physics and the physical world
- 2 World-views
- 2.1 The lawful Universe
- 2.2 The clockwork Universe
- 2.3 The irreversible Universe
- 2.4 The intangible Universe
- 2.5 The uncertain Universe
- 2.6 Closing items
- 3 Appendix: Some highlights of physics
- 4 Suggestions for further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn and track your progress. Make your learning visible!
The restless Universe
This unit offers a fascinating overview of the ‘big ideas’ that have shaped physics from the time of Kepler to the present day. Using little mathematics, the unit surveys fundamental features of key physical theories and provides the essential context for the further study of physics.
This free course is an adapted extract relevant to The Open University course S207 The physical world, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 17th May 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
- Latest OpenLearn pages
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - Physics and Astronomy
- Latest pages tagged - negative numbers
- Latest pages tagged - energy
- Latest pages tagged - thermodynamics
- Latest pages tagged - zero
- Latest pages tagged - electromagnetism
- Latest pages tagged - relativity
- Latest pages tagged - formulas
- Latest pages tagged - probability
- Latest pages tagged - perimeters
- Latest comments on this page