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Benjamin Schumacher Ph.D.

Benjamin Schumacher Ph.D. >

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Videos
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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…
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…
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…
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?
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…
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…
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,…
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…
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…
Claudius
Episode 17 of 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…
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…
Spacetime in Zero Gravity
Episode 15 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
In 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.
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,…
Epictetus
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…
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…
Hannibal
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,…
Hadrian
Episode 20 of Famous Romans
Hadrian, Trajan's successor, is a gifted, perplexing, and controversial figure. A fine soldier and public servant, he was also an intellectual innovator and an architect of genius. But few of his contemporaries understood him.
Augustus
Episode 15 of 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.
Matter Tells Spacetime How to Curve
Episode 17 of Black Holes, Tides, and Curved Spacetime
The curvature of spacetime depends upon matter--and tidal effects. In this episode, see how ordinary tidal effects reveal a simplified form of Einstein's greatest discovery: the equation governing the curvature of spacetime by matter.
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…