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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Impossible: Physics beyond the Edge
for also showing us what is possible and what is impossible.
Just because we can imagine it doesn't make it possible.

Impossible
Physics beyond the Edge
Lectures by Professor Benjamin Schumacher

Impossible: Physics beyond the Edge (2010)
24 lectures, 12 hours
Impossible: Physics beyond the Edge at TheGreatCourses.com

Physicists spend a lot of time thinking about impossible things, since probing the constantly shifting bounds between the possible and impossible is one of the best ways to discover unexpected phenomena and new laws of nature. And for nonscientists, exploring this extraordinary realm is one of the best introductions to the immensely rich subject of physics.

Consider these questions:

  • Can machines produce limitless energy?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Can anything travel faster than light?
  • Is it possible to escape from a black hole?

Each is a puzzle that requires pieces from different parts of physics to solve. And after investigating these and other questions, you begin to see how all of physics is tied together in a system that is consistent, logical, beautiful, and often very surprising.

For example, the question about whether time travel is possible leads you to a study of the nature of time and space. The paradoxes you encounter there are directly related to Einstein's concepts of space-time and the constancy of the speed of light from his theory of relativity. This, in turn, takes you to exotic ideas such as black holes and wormholes, which some theorists believe may be potential shortcuts through space-time.

Before you know it, a staple subject of science fiction—time travel—has taken you through many layers of investigation to reveal profound truths about the universe.

Impossible: Physics beyond the Edge uses this ingenious approach in 24 delightful half-hour lectures that will entertain and nourish your mind, while teaching you more physics than you ever imagined. Your guide into the realms of the impossible is veteran Great Courses Professor Benjamin Schumacher of Kenyon College, a pioneering theorist in quantum information, which is a field dealing with things once deemed impossible.

Professor Benjamin Schumacher is a Professor of Physics at Kenyon College, where he has taught for 20 years. He received his B.A. from Hendrix College and received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1990. Professor Schumacher introduced the term "qubit", invented quantum data compression (also known as "Schumacher compression"), and established several fundamental results about the information capacity of quantum systems.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: From Principles to Paradoxes and Back Again 13: A Spinning Universe, Wormholes, and Such
2: Almost Impossible 14: What Is Symmetry?
3: Perpetual Motion 15: Mirror Worlds
4: On Sunshine and Invisible Particles 16: Invasion of the Giant Insects
5: Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire 17: The Curious Quantum World
6: Maxwell's Demon 18: Impossible Exactness
7: Absolute Zero 19: Quantum Tunneling
8: Predicting the Future 20: Whatever Is Not Forbidden Is Compulsory
9: Visiting the Past 21: Entanglement and Quantum Cloning
10: Thinking in Space-Time 22: Geometry and Conservation
11: Faster than Light 23: Symmetry, Information, and Probability
12: Black Holes and Curved Space-Time 24: The Future of the Impossible


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Impossible
Physics beyond the Edge
Lectures by Professor Benjamin Schumacher

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Impossible: Physics beyond the Edge
for also showing us what is possible and what is impossible.
Just because we can imagine it doesn't make it possible.