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The restless Universe

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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 in this free course 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 free course 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.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 12 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 10th December 2014
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Physics and Astronomy
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The restless Universe


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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 subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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