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Apollo 11: Lessons for All time

How does one prepare for a small step and giant leap? Go behind the scenes of the Apollo 11 mission-no bulky spacesuit required.
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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon with an in-depth look at four unique outcomes of this momentous event, led by four esteemed professors.


Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

To study the deepest impulses in human nature, we see the lure of wealth and conquest, the deep-seated urge for fame and glory, the quest for higher ends, a basic human determination.


University of Tennessee

Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Professor Liulevicius has won many awards and honors, including the University of Tennessee's Excellence in Teaching Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. At the university he teaches courses on modern German history, Western civilization, European diplomatic history, Nazi Germany, World War I, war and culture, 20th-century Europe, nationalism, and utopian thought. Dr. Liulevicius has published numerous articles and two books: War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in World War I and The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present.

Professor Liulevicius participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about diplomacy and war

By This Professor

Turning Points in Modern History
A History of Eastern Europe
The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin
Communism in Power: From Stalin to Mao
History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration
The Secret World of Espionage
Robert M. Hazen

The best thing about teaching a Great Course is how much you learn in the process-from colleagues, from the fabulous Great Courses professional staff, and from listeners, who send amazing stories and ask amazing questions.


George Mason University

Dr. Robert M. Hazen is Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and a research scientist at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Professor Hazen earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a Ph.D. in Earth Science from Harvard University and did post-doctoral work at Cambridge University in England before joining the Carnegie Institution. At Carnegie, Dr. Hazen's research focuses on high-pressure organic synthesis and the origin of life.

Professor Hazen has authored 15 books, including the best-selling Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy and The Sciences: An Integrated Approach. He has written over 220 articles for both scholarly and popular publications such as Newsweek, Scientific American, The New York Times Magazine, Technology Review, and Smithsonian Magazine.

He has received the Mineralogical Society of America Award, the American Chemical Society Ipatieff Prize, the Educational Press Association Award, the American Crystallographic Association's Science Writing Award, and Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Professor Hazen serves on the advisory boards for The National Committee for Science Education, Encyclopedia Americana, NOVA, and the Carnegie Council. He appears frequently on radio and television programs on science.

By This Professor

The Origin and Evolution of Earth: From the Big Bang to the Future of Human Existence
Edward M. Murphy

My goal is to introduce you to the beauty and the wonder of the night sky, and to give you a basic knowledge needed to feel more comfortable navigating the sky.


University of Virginia
Dr. Edward M. Murphy is Associate Professor, General Faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He earned his bachelor's degree in Astronomy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1996. Professor Murphy was a postdoctoral fellow and an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he worked on NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). In 2000 he joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, where he continues to use FUSE, along with radio telescopes, in his research on the interstellar medium. Professor Murphy teaches courses on introductory astronomy and intelligent life in the universe to undergraduates, as well as seminars on how to teach astronomy to graduate students. He also offers evening classes for the local community at the historical Leander McCormick Observatory. He was named a Teaching and Technology Fellow in 2002-2003 and an Ernest Boots Mead Honored Faculty Fellow in 2003-2004. Dr. Murphy gives astronomy talks, appears regularly on local radio, and leads professional development workshops for teachers. He has also worked with the Science Museum of Virginia to develop planetarium shows and exhibits.

By This Professor

Our Night Sky
National Geographic Polar Explorations
Moon Rock Revelations: An Inside Story

01: Moon Rock Revelations: An Inside Story

What can the samples collected by the Apollo astronauts tell us about the Moon? Neil Armstrong and his fellow explorers were able to bring back about 50 pounds of rocks and soils that revealed things about the Moon that we had never known, or even surmised. Join Professor Bob Hazen, mineralogist and crystallographer, to uncover what the Moon is made of, how the Earth and the Moon are intimately connected, and the minerals that form the Moon.

23 min
Viewing Apollo Landing Sites from Earth

02: Viewing Apollo Landing Sites from Earth

Join Ed Murphy, professor and astronomer, to go outside and really view the Moon—the complex geology, mountains, lava flows, volcanic domes, and more. Discover and recognize what you can and can’t see with your naked eye, binoculars, and a telescope, as well as learn the best time to view the Moon. Once you’ve established the Moon’s topography, Professor Murphy shows you how to orient your viewing to the location of the Apollo 11 landing and what, exactly, you are seeing.

19 min
Moon Rocks Reveal a Wild Early Solar System?

03: Moon Rocks Reveal a Wild Early Solar System?

In a story that sounds like the basis for a science fiction blockbuster, Professor Sabine Stanley, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, demonstrates how studying Moon rocks has suggested a large number of meteor collisions in our solar system about four billion years ago—known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. See how this Moon event, which occurred during a concentrated time period of 200 million years, has implied that giant planets migrated during their formation—a possibility many scientists never considered.

14 min
Geopolitics of Space: Past, Present, Future

04: Geopolitics of Space: Past, Present, Future

The Apollo space mission was more than just a giant leap for mankind in terms of scientific developments and insights into both space and Earth, it was also a huge step in advancing America’s position in the geopolitical world as the Cold War extended into space. Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, the Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, invites you to investigate how the Space Race was not just a matter of prestige, but how it also established a claim on the future for the “winner’s” values, ideology, and way of life.

16 min