World Science University wants to teach you physics for free

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2014-03-11

Not for the math-phobic: the university level course at the World Science University.

With online lectures, MOOCs, and open courseware, it's probably never been easier to get access to college-level instruction on a huge variety of topics. But yesterday saw the launch of a new entry dedicated to scientific concepts: the World Science University, launched by the group that runs the World Science Festival.

The WSU takes a somewhat different approach to things, offering two levels of courses in physics, depending on how interested you are in delving into the underlying math. It's also got what you might call a physics FAQ, with answers provided in video form. We've been playing with the beta version of the courses over the last few weeks, and we sat down with WSU founder and lecturer Brian Greene to talk about why they've decided now is the time to tackle online science education.

Launching a university

Greene said that he was motivated by his experiences with the World Science Festival and his TV programs. Audiences were clearly interested in the science, but there was really no place for them to follow up on the things that interested them—"you're never going to teach anybody real quantum theory in a 90 minute TV program." But he felt that there wouldn't be a big divide between interested novices and college physics students.

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