Science and Discovery

Here we treat both the history of science, plus new discoveries in the sciences, both natural and social.

Einstein for the Masses

Prof. Ramamurti Shankar, J.R. Huffman Professor of Physics & Applied Physics at Yale, gives an introduction to Einstein's Theory for a lay audience. The only preparation needed is an open mind. One hour Video Lecture

Access Here

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

This is the famous thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. Each segment is about one hour. Magnificent, from beginning to end.

Access Here

'Science as a way of knowing', a 20 minute talk by Sagan with Charlie Rose, shortly before his death, HERE

Marxism as Philosophy of Science

Marxism as philosophy of science: What is its distinctiveness? How has it fared through the debates and dramas of the decades? Presentation by Helena Sheehan (Dublin City University Ireland), 45 minutes.

Access Here

Darwin's Legacy: Natural Selection's Wider Impact

Seven video lectures, each about 2 hours long, on the incredible ongoing influence of Darwin's revolutionary ideas. By William Durham of Stanford University

Access Here

The Fuller World: Bucky in Three Parts

Three 30-minute videos of the revolutionary ecological thinking and design science of Buckminster Fuller

Access Here

Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Steven Stearns of Yale University presents the principles of evolution, ecology, and behavior for students beginning their study of biology and of the environment.  36 video lectures, about 45 minutes each.

Access Here
Science, Magic and Religion
18 lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time. Examines the earlier mind-set before 1700 when into science fitted elements that came eventually to be seen as magical. The course also question how Western cosmologies became "disenchanted." Magical tradition transformed into modern mysticisms is also examined as well as the political implications of these movements. Includes discussion concerning science in totalitarian settings as well as "big science" during the Cold War. By Countenay Raia at UCLA Access Here
The Story of Maths The four part series, each about an hour, about the history of mathematics, presented by Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy. In the first episode, The Language of the Universe, after showing how fundamental mathematics is to our lives, du Sautoy explores the mathematics of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece. In Egypt, he uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand, while in former Mesopotamia he discovers that the way we tell the time today is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system. In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Euclid, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a tool for counting into the analytical subject we know today. The second episode, The Genius of the East, sees du Sautoy leaving the ancient world. When ancient Greece fell into decline, mathematical progress stagnated as Europe entered the Dark Ages, but in the East mathematics reached new heights. ACCESS HERE

How Large Is The Universe? The mind-blowing answer comes from a theory describing the birth of the universe in the first instant of time. The universe has long captivated us with its immense scales of distance and time.  How far does it stretch? Where does it end... and what lies beyond its star fields... and streams of galaxies extending as far as telescopes can see? These questions are beginning to yield to a series of extraordinary new lines of investigation... and technologies that are letting us to peer into the most distant realms of the cosmos...20 Minute Video Access Here

FABRIC OF THE COSMOS. Much of what we thought we knew about our universe – that the past has already happened and the future is yet to be, that space is just an empty void, that our universe is the only universe that exists – just might be wrong. Interweaving provocative theories, experiments, and stories with crystal-clear explanations and imaginative metaphors like those that defined the groundbreaking and highly acclaimed series The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos aims to be the most compelling, visual, and comprehensive picture of modern physics ever seen on television. Four videos in four hours. ACCESS HERE.

Marxism and the Philosophy of ScienceComplete course outline and PDF files of the chapters from the book of the same title by Helena Sheehan, Dublin City University, Ireland.Access Here

Through the Wormhole.  All 18 episodes from Through the Wormhole series gathered in one place. Hosted by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole will explore the deepest mysteries of existence – the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity. What are we made of? What was there before the beginning? Are we really alone? Is there a creator? These questions have been pondered by the most exquisite minds of the human race. Now, science has evolved to the point where hard facts and evidence may be able to provide us with answers instead of philosophical theories. Through the Wormhole will bring together the brightest minds and best ideas from the very edges of science – Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, and more – to reveal the extraordinary truth of our Universe. Access Here

Einstein, the FBI, and the Scientist's Support for the Battle vs. Racism.  Fred Jerome talked about his book The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret War Against the World’s Most Famous Scientist, published by Martin’s Press. In this book he details the activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in spying on Albert Einstein and his associates. He also details the pacifist and socialist politics of Albert Einstein and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement which provoked J. Edgar Hoover into leading an F.B.I. campaign to link the Nobel Prize-winning physicist to Soviet espionage activities and discredit his reputation. Mr. Jerome and Ms. Simmons read passages from the book, focusing on racial conflict. Then Mr. Jerome answered questions from members of the audience.Access Here

Foucault and the Philosophy of Science From a paper on the topic by Linda Martin Alcoff:  "Like all of the highly original philosophers, Foucault’s work poses significant challenges of interpretation and assessment. How are we to take his occasional generalizations when he so often counsels us to analyze only locally and particularly? How can we understand his views on reference, or realism, or an assortment of other contemporary philosophical concerns, when he refuses to address these issues." directly? Access Here

The Day the Universe Changed is a ten-part documentary television series presented by science historian James Burke. The series tells a series of stories of how specific scientific and technological advances have shaped the Western way of life. The series posits that when one’s view of the universe changes, the universe itself effectively changes. The series’ primary focus is on the effect of advances in science and technology on western philosophy. The title comes from the philosophical idea that the universe essentially only exists as you perceive it through what you know; therefore, if you change your perception of the universe with new knowledge, you have essentially changed the universe itself. Watch the full documentary now (10 episodes – 7,5 hrs)