Benjamin Schumacher Ph.D.

Benjamin Schumacher Ph.D. >

The Strangest Force
Episode 1 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Begin your exploration of gravity with Isaac Newton and the famous story of the apple. Why was it such a breakthrough to connect a falling apple with the faraway moon? Review the essential characteristics of gravity and learn why small…
Publius Cornelius Scipio
Episode 1 of Famous Romans
It is a March day in 218 B.C., the year that will see the beginning of the Second Punic War. Join the consul P. Cornelius Scipio and his son as they tour the Forum, discussing its statues of heroes from…
Marcus Aurelius
Episode 24 of Famous Romans
With Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic wore the imperial purple. No emperor was more dedicated or humane. His "Meditations" remain a beacon for all who would go through life with honesty and compassion. But how did he fare as a ruler?
Episode 2 of Famous Romans
Few Romans did as much to make Rome a world power as did its worst enemy, Hannibal. This lecture follows the great Carthaginian general as he leads 59,000 men and 37 elephants over the Pyrenees, fights his way across Gaul,…
Gaius Flaminius
Episode 3 of Famous Romans
On a foggy morning in 217 B.C., a Roman army marches along the shore of Lake Trasimene in central Italy. The career of its commander Flaminius opens a window on both Roman politics and the skill of Hannibal, who lies…
Scipio Africanus the Elder
Episode 5 of Famous Romans
The son of the consul of 218 B.C., Africanus earned his sobriquet by crushing Hannibal in 202 at Zama (now Tunisia), one of the most decisive battles in world history. Here we compare Scipio and Hannibal and the lessons they…
Free Fall and Inertia
Episode 2 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Review three great discoveries by the "grandfather" of gravity research, Galileo Galilei. His most famous experiment may never have happened, but his principle of inertia, law of free fall, and principle of relativity are the basis for everything that comes…
The Next Revolution
Episode 24 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Survey the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical physics: the search for a quantum theory of gravity. Examine string theory, loop quantum gravity, and also entropic gravity, which suggests a revolutionary link with thermodynamics. Close the course with a deepened appreciation…
Revolution in the Heavens
Episode 3 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Drawing on ideas and observations of Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler achieved a great insight about gravity by discovering three laws of planetary motion, relating to the mathematics of orbits. The cause of planetary motion, he determined, must…
The Force of Creation
Episode 23 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Use a black hole to test the laws of thermodynamics, taking a deeper look at the capacity of gravity to pull matter together and increase entropy at the same time. Probe Stephen Hawking's most surprising discovery, and then learn that…
Gaius Julius Caesar
Episode 9 of Famous Romans
To Rome's top politicians, Caesar at first seemed nothing more than a political hack of little ability and less character. The challenge of conquering Gaul transformed Caesar and changed world history, laying the foundations for the civilization of France and…
Gravity’s Horizon—Anatomy of a Black Hole
Episode 20 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Plunge into the subject of black holes, which are massive objects that have collapsed completely under their own gravity. Learn how black holes distort spacetime and explore the supermassive black holes that lie at the hearts of galaxies. Then ask:…
Light in Curved Spacetime
Episode 18 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
See how Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts the bending of light in a gravitational field, famously confirmed in 1919 by the British scientist Arthur Eddington. Learn how this phenomenon creates natural gravitational lenses--and how the bending of light reveals…
Cosmic Antigravity—Inflation and Dark Energy
Episode 22 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
In this episode, investigate cosmic antigravity, starting with cosmic inflation, a phenomenon that exponentially increased the size of the universe during the big bang. Then, learn why dark matter cannot be made of ordinary protons and neutrons, and explore the…
From Forces to Fields
Episode 13 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
For the rest of the course, focus on the revolutionary view of gravitation launched by Albert Einstein. Review new ideas about fields that allowed physics to extend beyond Newtonian mechanics. Then see how Einstein modified Newton's laws and created the…
Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus
Episode 7 of Famous Romans
Rome had conquered Carthage, only to wind up divided against itself as wealth displaced virtue and undermined the constitution. Seeing the urgent need for reform, these descendants of the Scipio line prepared to sacrifice everything to achieve it.
Which Universe Is Ours?
Episode 21 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Investigate what Einstein called his "greatest mistake"--his rejection of his own theory's prediction that spacetime should be dynamic and evolving. Chart the work of a group of scientists, including Alexander Friedman, Georges Lemaitre, and Edwin Hubble, who advanced the realization…
Quintus Fabius Maximus
Episode 4 of Famous Romans
The events at Trasimene led the Senate to name Fabius as dictator for six months. Why did he adopt his famous - and at the time, highly unpopular - strategy of avoiding battle with Hannibal?
Caesar and Vercingetorix
Episode 10 of Famous Romans
Caesar's brilliant history, The Gallic War, recounts his defeat of the Celtic hero Vercingetorix and reveals his mastery of strategy, tactics, logistics, battlefield command, and peace settlements.
Episode 21 of Famous Romans
Born a slave, he was exiled from Rome for speaking too freely to the emperor. Despite offers to return, he lived on in a backwater, becoming one of the greatest exponents of that vastly influential approach to life known as…