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## Episodes

- S1 E1 - The Strangest ForceAugust 30, 201333minBegin 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 asteroids and large planets have such different shapes.#Science & MathematicsFree trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E2 - Free Fall and InertiaOctober 7, 201329minReview 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 later in the science of gravity--including key breakthroughs by Einstein.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E3 - Revolution in the HeavensAugust 30, 201328minDrawing 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 lie in the sun.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E4 - Universal GravitationAugust 30, 201328minSee 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, which underlie the science of mechanics.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E5 - The Art of ExperimentAugust 30, 201330minLearn 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 the equivalence principle, which says that gravitational and inertial mass are identical.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E6 - Escape Velocity, Energy, and RotationAugust 30, 201329minBegin the first of several lectures that dig deeper into Newton's laws than Newton himself was able to go. In this lecture, apply the key concepts of energy and angular momentum to study how gravity affects motion. As an example, use simple algebra to calculate the escape velocity from Earth.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E7 - Stars in Their Courses--Orbital MechanicsAugust 30, 201329minNewton 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 through space.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E8 - What Are Tides? Earth and BeyondAugust 30, 201330minTrace 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 ring system, volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, and many other phenomena.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E9 - Nudge--Perturbations of OrbitsAugust 30, 201328minFor the next three lectures, study the effects of gravity on the motions of more than two bodies. Here, see how even very small orbital changes--small perturbations--are significant. Such effects have revealed the presence of unknown planets, both in our own solar system and around other stars.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E10 - Resonance--Surprises in the Intricate DanceAugust 30, 201329minResonance happens whenever a small periodic force produces a large effect on a periodic motion--for example, when you push a child on a swing. Learn how resonance due to gravitational interactions between three bodies can lead to amazing phenomena with planets, asteroids, and rings of planets.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E11 - The Million-Body ProblemAugust 30, 201332minConsider the problem of gravitational interactions between millions of bodies, such as the countless stars in a galaxy. Amazingly, mathematics can reveal useful information even in these complicated cases. Discover how the analysis of the motions of galaxies led to the prediction of dark matter.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E12 - The Billion-Year BattleAugust 30, 201330minExplore the physics of stars, which are balls of gas in a billion-year battle between the inward pull of gravity and the outward pressure produced by nuclear fusion. Follow this story to its ultimate finish--the triumph of gravity in massive stars that end their lives as black holes.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E13 - From Forces to FieldsAugust 30, 201331minFor 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 special theory of relativity.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E14 - The Falling LaboratoryAugust 30, 201331minEinstein focused on gravity in his general theory of relativity. Hear about his "happiest thought"--the realization that a man in free fall perceives gravity as zero. This simple insight resolved a mystery going all the way back to Newton and led Einstein to the startling discovery that gravity affects light and time.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E15 - Spacetime in Zero GravityAugust 30, 201329minIn an influential interpretation of relativity, Einstein's former mathematics professor Hermann Minkowski reformulated the theory in terms of four-dimensional geometry, which he called spacetime. Learn how to plot events in this coordinate system in cases where gravity is zero.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E16 - Spacetime Tells Matter How to MoveAugust 30, 201331minSee 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 Einstein's general theory of relativity.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E17 - Matter Tells Spacetime How to CurveAugust 30, 201330minThe curvature of spacetime depends upon matter--and tidal effects. In this lecture, see how ordinary tidal effects reveal a simplified form of Einstein's greatest discovery: the equation governing the curvature of spacetime by matter.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E18 - Light in Curved SpacetimeAugust 30, 201330minSee 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 invisible matter in deep space.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E19 - Gravitomagnetism and Gravitational WavesAugust 30, 201331minThe general theory of relativity predicts new phenomena of gravity analogous to those of electromagnetism. Discover how ultra-sensitive experiments have detected the gravitomagnetism of the Earth, and follow the search for elusive gravitational waves that travel through space.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E20 - Gravity's Horizon--Anatomy of a Black HoleAugust 30, 201333minPlunge 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: Are there such things as micro-black holes?Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E21 - Which Universe Is Ours?August 30, 201330minInvestigate 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 Lemaître, and Edwin Hubble, who advanced the realization that our universe is expanding from an apparent big bang.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E22 - Cosmic Antigravity--Inflation and Dark EnergyAugust 30, 201332minIn this lecture, 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 recent discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, powered by a mysterious dark energy inherent in space itself.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E23 - The Force of CreationAugust 30, 201329minUse 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 the same force that pulls the apple down and steers the stars in their courses is also nature's ultimate source of order and complexity.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
- S1 E24 - The Next RevolutionAugust 30, 201332minSurvey 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 for the connection between everyday features of gravity and the most exciting questions in physics and cosmology.Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy

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