from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Canals: The Making of a Nation: EngineeringWednesday, 2nd September 2015 01:20 - BBC FourEpisode 6 of 6 looks at the rise of civil engineering and the feats of technology behind the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Read more: Canals: The Making of a Nation: Engineering
Canals: The Making of a Nation: EngineeringAvailable until Friday, 2nd October 2015 01:50Episode 6 of 6 looks at the rise of civil engineering and the feats of technology behind the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Read more: Canals: The Making of a Nation: Engineering
More or Less: Chinese market crash, e-cigarettes and runnersAvailable for over a year
The world’s busiest railway 2015 – Mumbai Railway: Episode 1Available until Tuesday, 29th September 2015 19:00
Are our kids tough enough? Chinese school: Episode TwoAvailable until Monday, 28th September 2015 01:55
OpenLearn Live: 2nd September 2015The devil's music is just the start of a day of free learning. Read more: OpenLearn Live: 2nd September 2015
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
The Roman Empire: introducing some key termsThis free course will define basic concepts and terms that are essential for an understanding of... Try: The Roman Empire: introducing some key terms now
Forensic psychologyDiscover how psychology can help obtain evidence from eyewitnesses in police investigations and... Try: Forensic psychology 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