The Complete Leonard Susskind Lectures
Last Updated 10/30/2012: Added new lectures.
tanford University‘s Continuing Studies program has published eleven series of lectures by Leonard Susskind exploring the essential theoretical foundations of modern physics. They are available through Stanford’s YouTube Channel:
The presentation of this material is beyond words. Dr. Susskind has the very rare ability to teach physics to those who don’t already know it! The courses are designed for those of us who have been out of school a while and want to catch up with the latest and greatest in the fields of physics.
For lighter presentations, you might enjoy the lectures offered by the Perimeter Institute.
The Higgs Boson
Professor Susskind presents an explanation of what the Higgs mechanism is, and what it means to “give mass to particles.” He also explains what’s at stake for the future of physics and cosmology.
This course is comprised of a six-quarter sequence of classes that will explore the essential theoretical foundations of modern physics. The topics covered in this course sequence will include classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, the general and special theories of relativity, electromagnetism, cosmology, and black holes. While these courses will build upon one another, each course also stands on its own, and both individually and collectively they will let students attain the “theoretical minimum” for thinking intelligently about modern physics.
- Classical Mechanics (iTunes) – Fall 2007
- Quantum Mechanics (iTunes) – Winter 2008
- Special Relativity (iTunes) – Spring 2008
- Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (iTunes) – Fall 2008
- Cosmology (iTunes) – Winter 2009
- Statistical Mechanics (iTunes) – Spring 2009
2011 – 2012 Edition (Updated)
Stanford is in the process of recording a new edition of the Modern Physics series. I will keep you posted on the series as they are complete.
- Classical Mechanics (iTunes) – Fall 2011
- Quantum Mechanics (iTunes) – Winter 2012
- Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory (iTunes) – Spring 2012
- General Relativity (iTunes) – Fall 2012
Note: Despite the ordering, these series are presented quite independently; understanding one doesn’t require knowledge of the previous. As such, if there is one topic in particular you enjoy, dive right in.
Topics in String Theory
In this Winter course, we will continue an exploration of string theory with Leonard Susskind, the physicist who first developed this important theory that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. In particular, the course will focus on string theory with regard to important issues in contemporary physics. Topics will include: 1) the impact of string theory on the pursuit of black holes; 2) the string theory landscape and the implications for cosmology; and 3) the Holographic Principle and its applications.
String Theory and M-Theory
String theory (with its close relative, M-theory) is the basis for the most ambitious theories of the physical world. It has profoundly influenced our understanding of gravity, cosmology, and particle physics. In this course we will develop the basic theoretical and mathematical ideas, including the string-theoretic origin of gravity, the theory of extra dimensions of space, the connection between strings and black holes, the “landscape” of string theory, and the holographic principle.
Note: This is a different lecture series than the New Revolutions in Particle Physics: Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, and String Theory.
New Revolutions in Particle Physics
Revolutionary new concepts about elementary particles, space and time, and the structure of matter began to emerge in the mid-1970s. Theory got far ahead of experiment with radical new ideas such as “grand unification” and “supersymmetry,” but the concepts have never been experimentally tested. Now all that is about to change; the LHC— the Large Hadron Collider—has finally been built and is about to confront theory with experiment. The next three quarters of our ongoing physics series with Leonard Susskind will be devoted to these theoretical ideas and how they will be tested.
Note: I will update this page as soon as the last part is posted to YouTube.
- New Revolutions in Particle Physics: Basic Concepts (iTunes) – Fall 2009
- New Revolutions in Particle Physics: Standard Model (iTunes) – Winter 2010
- Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, and String Theory (iTunes) – Spring 2010
The old Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics associated with Niels Bohr is giving way to a more profound interpretation based on the idea of quantum entanglement. Entanglement not only replaces the obsolete notion of the collapse of the wave function but it is also the basis for Bell’s famous theorem, the new paradigm of quantum computing, and finally the widely discussed “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics of Everett.
- Quantum Entanglements – Part 1 (iTunes) – Fall 2006
- Quantum Entanglements – Part 2 — See Note Above
- Quantum Entanglements – Part 3 (iTunes) – Spring 2007
Consider this warning from Wikipedia: Note that some of the lecture names are a little mixed-up: “Quantum Entanglements Part 3″ is in fact a lecture series on special relativity and electromagnetic theory, and the order in which the lectures were given is 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2&3, 8 and 9 (in terms of the numbers given on the videos). There is no mention of string theory in the series “Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, String Theory”, nor of M-theory in “String Theory and M-Theory”.
Update: a massive collection of lecture notes is available on scribd. Thanks to Andrew Thomas for providing the link.
I have seen a lot of searches for lecture notes to the Susskind lectures. While not necessarily complete, this site contains notes from many of them.