Professor at University of Texas - Austin

Professor at University of Texas - Austin >

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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…
South America's Lost Cradle of Civilization
Episode 1 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Consider the remarkable evidence for South America as one of the true wellsprings of human civilization. Grasp the diversity of early South American cultures, from the Andean civilizations to the desert and Amazon regions; what these cultures shared; and their…
The Inca Origins—Mythology v. Archaeology
Episode 17 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Begin your study of the great Inca civilization by tracing the culture's origin myth, featuring a creator deity who made the cosmos and charged the Inca to found a kingdom in a fertile valley. Compare the mythology with archaeological evidence…
Discovering Peru’s Earliest Cities
Episode 2 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The first cities in the Americas date to 3000 B.C. Investigate the means of subsistence of coastal and inland valley cities, and evidence for trade in marine and agricultural products. Learn about the sites of Kotosh, El Paraiso, and Caral…
Publius Cornelius Scipio
Part of the Series: 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…
Stars in Their Courses—Orbital Mechanics
Episode 7 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Newton was the first to realize that objects could, in theory, be sent into orbit around Earth. Explore how this works in practice, using the ideas of energy and angular momentum to study how satellites, moons, planets, and stars move…
Hannibal
Part of the Series: 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,…
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…
Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
Episode 22 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The mountainside complex of Machu Picchu was a royal estate of Pachacuti, the 9th Inca. Walk the site, entering at the Sun Gate, and explore the causeways, terraces, and many rooms of undetermined function. Study the solar-aligned Torreon and other…
South America’s First People
Episode 3 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The earliest evidence of humans in the Americas comes not from North America, but from Chile. Investigate the important Monte Verde site and its view into everyday life 15,000 years ago. Learn also about "Quilcas" cave art, the astonishing Chinchorro…
Escape Velocity, Energy, and Rotation
Episode 6 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Begin the first of several episodes that dig deeper into Newton's laws than Newton himself was able to go. In this episode, apply the key concepts of energy and angular momentum to study how gravity affects motion. As an example,…
Universal Gravitation
Episode 4 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
See how Newton was able to finish Kepler's revolution by formulating the law of universal gravitation, which says that every object exerts an attractive force on every other object. Also explore Newton's related discovery of the three laws of motion,…
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…
What Are Tides? Earth and Beyond
Episode 8 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Trace the origin of tides to the simple fact that gravity varies from point to point in space. This leads not just to the rise and fall of the ocean, but to the gradual slowing of Earth's rotation, Saturn's spectacular…
The Inca—Gifts of the Empire
Episode 20 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
As a glimpse into how the empire functioned so effectively, learn about the Mit'a, a system of labor taxation, noting the services subjects provided to the empire and how they benefited in return. Grasp the Inca's ingenious technology of road…
The Art of Experiment
Episode 5 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
Learn how distances in the solar system were first determined. Then chart Henry Cavendish's historic experiment that found the value of Newton's gravitational constant. Cavendish's work allows almost everything in the universe to be weighed. Then see a confirmation of…
Augustus
Part of the Series: Famous Romans
The adoption of his great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, is the most compelling evidence of Caesar's foresight. Only 19 at the time of Caesar's death, as the princeps (First Citizen), Augustus would secure centuries of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
Spacetime Tells Matter How to Move
Episode 16 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
See how gravity affects Minkowski's spacetime geometry, discovering that motion in a gravitational field follows the straightest path in curved spacetime. The curvature in spacetime is not caused by gravity; it is gravity. This startling idea is the essence of…
The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
Episode 13 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Recent discoveries indicate the presence of massive ancient civilizations in the Amazon. Survey the evidence, starting with the Beni region's elaborate systems of mounds, causeways, and canals. Continue with the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, noting wide areas of human-enriched soil,…
Claudius
Part of the Series: Famous Romans
A sign of the Augustan system's genius was its ability to survive eccentric or even mad emperors. History is fascinated by those emperors' excesses, which indeed can be highly instructive. Claudius, for all his oddness, was a shrewd and able…