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Fascinating and understandable

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-05-2015

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It is pitched at the audience it proclaims to be (i.e. non-physicists). With no more than High school physics and having read one or two books on related subjects, I found this course delivered in a manner I could understand (not a trivial feat given the highly mathematical nature of the topic). This is also where the course in my opinion shines the most: Prof. Pollock manages to make a largely theoretical and abstract body of research accessible to an everyday audience. He uses analogies where possible and cuts out the mathematical details to avoid detracting from the understanding of the big picture or concept. The technical terms required for understanding of the subject are always well explained and a basic revision is brought up if the term hasn’t been used for a while and appears again in a chapter.
The structure of the course is another strong point. Prof. Pollock commences with a historic recount of how our understanding of the building blocks of nature evolved to get us to the present day ‘standard model of particle physics’. He makes it easy to follow the reasoning and illuminates the history of particle physics with the important experiments, discoveries and scientists involved. Further he often cites interesting anecdotes about a particular scientist or experiment which helps to bring the content to life for the listener and illuminates the at times quirky characters involved.
Overall it is more than a mere introduction to particle physics, it is a very comprehensive course (for the layman).
The only drawback I can think of is that the material is current as of 2003 and particle physics has obviously moved on since then.
Ultimately though I feel the course has equipped me with the knowledge and understanding required to do further reading myself and has certainly deepened my interest in the subject.

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