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Physics for Future Presidents

Physics for Future Presidents, University of California-Berkeley’s introduction to physics class for non-scientists, is available for free online to anyone interested in learning. It is part of an initiative by Berkeley, along with hundreds of other universities, to provide high quality education open to everyone. The project is called Open Courseware and is available for free though the Internet. Depending on the university, people have access to class lectures, videos, readings, assignments, tests, and syllabi on hundreds of different topics, just as if they paid to enroll as a student. The only difference is that universities do not provide accreditation, academic transcripts, or certificates of completion.

To begin learning, check out some of these sites:

MIT OpenCourseware—Beginning in 1997, MIT has the largest collection of open course work available, with over 2000 classes to chose from. Recent classes generally include video and audio lectures, as well as readings, assignments (with answers), and tests (with answers). Topics include architecture, engineering, health sciences, humanities, and management, in addition to traditional science and technology courses.

University of California-Berkeley Webcast—Starting from Fall 2001, Berkeley organizes it’s courses by semester. Topics for Spring 2011 include astronomy, bioengineering, biology, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering, physics, and more. For most classes audio and/or video lecture is available, but not course syllabi or readings.

Open Yale courses—This program focuses on introductory level courses in a broad spectrum of sciences and humanities. While less overall classes are available, Yale does include reading assignments, syllabi, and the option of audio, video, or transcripted lectures for all classes.

Carnegie Mellon, Tufts University, Johns Hopkins University, and over 20 other U.S. institutions also participate, along with hundreds of universities worldwide. To look for a specific class or topic, check out the Open Courseware Consortium, which lists all classes provided from all affiliated universities.

Happy learning!

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