LISA Gravity Course

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Topic 198285

I just received this email

Quote:

Dear Dr Hewson,

back in 2013, you asked us to keep you up to date. Our White Paper was extremely successful and the Gravitational Universe was selected as the science theme for ESA's L3 mission. We are now getting close to the launch of the LISA Pathfinder mission, followed by the actual mission concept selection by ESA. More news are coming soon.

In the meantime we would like to point you to an internet course on the Gravitational Universe "Gravity! From the Big Bang to black holes". This 6-week course is conducted by one of the eLISA researchers Pierre Binétruy, with the participation of Nobel Prize winner George Smoot. It presents to a large public with curiosity for the Universe but no mathematical background, the various aspects of the gravitational universe, focusing in the last weeks on gravitational waves and black holes. Highlights of the course will be the celebration of the 100th anniversary of general relativity on November 25, and the launch of the LISA Pathfinder mission.
The course is absolutely free of charge and does not require a scientific background.

Join the 70,000 learners who have already registered for the course by going to http://futurelearn.com/courses/gravity .
The course starts today October 26, 2015. Registration is possible until December 6, 2015. The course is only accessible to registered learners.

Best wishes,
The eLISA Consortium

--
eLISA Mission Homepage:
www.lisamission.org

Find us on
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LISAcommunity
Google+: www.google.com/+LISAmissionORG
YouTube: www.youtube.com/LISAcommunity
Twitter: www.twitter.com/LISAcommunity

... and have already started. It's open to all -> have a crack at it !! ;-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts
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LISA Gravity Course

You posted this at 3:15AM local time. Don't you sleep these days? :-).

Thanks for the heads up. For relativity illiterates like me, it should be interesting!!

Cheers,
Gary.

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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RE: You posted this at

Quote:
You posted this at 3:15AM local time. Don't you sleep these days? :-).


Ha ! Well spotted. Doctors sleep when they are dead ..... :-):-)

Quote:
Thanks for the heads up. For relativity illiterates like me, it should be interesting!!


It looks to be a massive compression of the highlights of The Relativities. I agree it will be a curious thing to see how many can 'hang on ' to the ride ! :-)

I'm happy to answer any related questions here if it becomes problematic to get one at their site.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

MAGIC Quantum Mechanic
MAGIC Quantum M...
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Yes I am a member there

Yes I am a member there too.

Started getting emails back in 2013 and started the eLisa first thing.

As usual my DSL is pitiful so I have just been reading the text so far since it would freeze up the video every 5 words.

But then my ISP probably does that since I upload and d/l data since 2004 for the LHC,vLHC,Atlas,and CMS Cern Projects on my 6 computers running 24/7 along with all the Einstein GPU tasks.

And since I am always up after midnight I am on here when Dr. Mike is on from his place Down Undah

Monday Night Football game was on at the time so I stopped just before that first quiz they have on the website.

http://futurelearn.com/courses/gravity

 

Daniels_Parents
Daniels_Parents
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Wondering how many of the

Wondering how many of the 70'000 "learners" are able to endure this unbelievable boring type of a teacher ...

Happy yawning,
Arthur

I know I am a part of a story that starts long before I can remember and continues long beyond when anyone will remember me [Danny Hillis, Long Now]

MAGIC Quantum Mechanic
MAGIC Quantum M...
Joined: 18 Jan 05
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RE: Wondering how many of

Quote:

Wondering how many of the 70'000 "learners" are able to endure this unbelievable boring type of a teacher ...

Happy yawning,
Arthur

Maybe that is what was freezing up the audio for me

 

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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The discussions are a tad

The discussions are a tad loose from some. To be expected. Alas metaphysical intuition doesn't get the grass cut in The Relativities. It's certainly not my gig over there so I say my piece and leave it be. My slapping hand has been a wee bit itchy, the thread nesting is limited to two levels, plus one is restrained by 1200 characters. Hence I have to make the time to make it short { Hello Mr Irony }. Sigh ... saves me from Keyboard Warrior Tendinitis I 'spose ... click, ergo sum .... :-):-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts
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I decided to go through the

I decided to go through the complete course (I've just finished week 6 now) without initially bothering too much with any discussion. A preliminary look at the discussion for week 1 left me somewhat underwhelmed. Maybe things will change if people with significant understanding start debating concepts in the discussions.

It seems to me that the content is tantamount to rote learning. Facts are presented and tested in subsequent quizzes and scored tests. To answer the questions you just have to be able to regurgitate the presented information. I guess it has to be this way since they stated, "No equations or complex mathematics". The problem I had was that quite a few of the presented facts didn't really seem to be accompanied by a convincing evidence trail to justify the statements made. I guess to have done this would have led to a much longer and more 'costly to produce' presentation with the likelihood of very few of the target audience 'staying the distance'.

From a general knowledge point of view, I was happy to have spent the time listening to the presentation. I consider myself to be fairly illiterate about the more theoretical aspects of the subject matter and whilst I did 'freshen my understanding' of some things, I don't feel my 'illiteracy level' changed all that much :-).

It seems that the intention is to keep things at a very simple level and then congratulate the participants on how far they have progressed and how much they now 'know' (but not really understand) compared to those who haven't had the benefit of the course. In other words it's 'marketing' to make people feel good about themselves :-). If it achieves the aim of getting more people interested in science and into realising how important this stuff really is, and how much science in general needs to be funded into the future, that at least will be a worthwhile outcome.

As a final comment, it appears as if the whole exercise is actually just a test of how successful 'budget' presentations like this might be for revenue raising purposes. Can cash strapped tertiary institutions get the general public to be interested enough to pay for such 'courses'? I don't know how many participants might be prepared to shell out 34 pounds + delivery for a certificate for this course. I suspect my cynicism might cause me to severely underestimate the number but it would be interesting to know :-).

Cheers,
Gary.

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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I'll keep going in pace with

I'll keep going in pace with the schedule and see how it winds out.

But so far I suspect you are probably correct. They call it MOOC : Massive Online something something. I think the 'OC' may well evolve to Overwhelming Confusion* in this instance. Ought be good for the BS bluffers, give them some snappy ammo for their other online pseudo-wrangles, give them a fake intellectual high ground to throw stuff from, feeling clever etc as you say. I have just received an email asking me to nominate a "Learning Hero" ie. another contributor ( not a author/assistant of the course ) whom I think is worthy. Trouble is that it just validates the concept that group think/agreement is the standard for science. Oooh I like that ( & so does Fred ) so it must be right. Indeed browsing through : many of the highly liked responses are absolute twaddle.

What essentially happens in genuine scientific debates is examination of how well given theories match physical results as obtained. Disagreement amongst scientists is about the closeness of the matching and likewise merit. That is all too frequently viewed as a philsophical problem - engaging all manner of extraneous baggage - and not a pragmatic one. Is the ruler that we measure reality with any good ?

I am sounding elitist but GR is not a topic that yields to easy compression without discarding key essences. Personally I think it is a bloody hard topic in my experience. It is an extension of perspective well out of ordinary experience and much otherwise hopeful analogy will fail. Some mathematics is necessary in my view for proper understanding. While SR has fairly straight forward algebra, GR requires tensors. So you're into tertiary level maths from the get-go there. I have found it is best to learn the math alongside the relevant physical theory. { I am about quarter way through the 'bible' : Gravitation by Meisner/Thorne/Wheeler .... }

Cheers, Mike.

* Quite worryingly one of the assistant/mentors was assigning mass to photons ! The construct was that while photons have no rest mass they do have a relativistic one ! Awkward phrasing and bound to cause trouble for neophytes. While one can take Energy and divide by c^2 for anything of interest, calling that 'mass' for a photon is going to lead to a high-grade semantic conflict elsewhere in the topic. Better to say that all forms of energy gravitate ( the right hand side of Einstein's GR equation ) and some of those forms have a rest frame to which one can assign a rest mass, and by extension a relativistic mass as viewed from other frames.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Fascinating group

Fascinating group experiment.
Yeah it's beginning to clearly demonstrate cognitive slippage. The wheels are spinning. There is push back developing. The favoured responses of many now indicate they are going for the comfort - no surprise - of inadequate classical everyday analogy and are starting to collide as it were with the harder material. That is translating/diverting into complaint of peripherals : wording, accent, sound effects, visual presentation etc as people search for reasons as to why they feel they aren't 'getting it'. Questions and responses are developing more confusion and annoyance, perversely (re-)generating a reward for those that subdue & regardless of content. I fear self evident contradiction is only a corner or two away .... I predict a substantial drop in participation shortly. I guess that is price of a 'no prerequisite' clause.

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) Some 'answers' volunteered by other participants are links to elsewhere on the internet ( groan ) ie. a scramble to find to reference outside of the course itself ......

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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