The Internet has a new trove of beautiful, simple explanations of fundamental scientific principles, from Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity to quantum mechanics. The much anticipated massive open online course provider, World Science U, launched today with a host of short videos and full classes on a range of weighty technical subjects.
“If you can actually show visualizations of the slowing of time or the compression of space, kids can get it so much more easily,” World Science U founder and Columbia University Professor Brian Greene told Stephen Colbert.
To give you a flavor of the kinds of material World Science U is offering, the first video below is one of dozens of quick lecture bites that answer questions about science topics.
And here’s one of the lectures from the multi-part short courses on Special Relativity. At 6:30, Greene gives an example of how scientists measure the slowing of time for objects in motion.
The longer courses themselves take a page from the MOOC playbook, with peer-to-peer conservation forums and quizzes to supplement the learning process. All classes are free for now, but they’ll eventually want to find a revenue model. Others, such as Coursera and Udacity, have begun charging for certifications and greater tutoring help during class.
World Science U is certainly one of the better explanations of scientific concepts out there, which means it can easily be adopted in classrooms around the country.