The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality

Keep your eyes peeled for black holes on this mind-bending search for a theory that could explain everything. No, really: Everything.
The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 207.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Content! Really great explanation of so many technical topics in physics and cosmology, but provided at the perfect level for laypeople.
Date published: 2021-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind-Blowing!!! Dr. Lincoln’s lectures are truly mind-blowing!! He is one of the best lecturers at the Great Courses. His oral and visual presentations are excellent. He is the recipient of the 2013 Outreach Prize awarded by the European Physical Society High-Energy and Particle Physics Division “for communicating in multiple media the excitement of high-energy physics to high-school students and teachers and the public at large." It’s wonderful that the Great Courses offer courses taught by such an amazing physicist! I would love to see more courses taught by Dr. Lincoln. Thank you very much!!
Date published: 2021-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting, challenging, and daring! Within only 24 lectures, Professor Lincoln was able to cover so many, so complicated, and so advanced topics in so lucid way for non-physicists. This is no small achievement. But it is not an easy course for ordinary people. For me, I watched this course twice. At his last lecture, Professor Lincoln drew a chart in which he connected many topics together. With that chart in mind, I went over the course again. This time, not only can I deeply understand each topic, but I began to appreciate his scientific mind.
Date published: 2021-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Theory of Everything I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is 24 lectures about 30 minutes each. It provides a good overview of modern physics. Starting with unifying electricity and magnetism, moving on to the strong and weak nuclear forces, discussions of quarks and leptons, time and space, gravity, etc., all very interesting. Despite other reviews, you don't really need to know any math to enjoy it. I would say that most any intelligent person would benefit from watching. The presenter, Dr. Lincoln, does a good job with the presentation in terms of pace, level of detail, etc.
Date published: 2020-12-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Races along and uses too much math Had high hopes that with this course I'd be able to finally get a much-desired insight into current scientific trends. Alas, the course was not "dumbed down" enough for me. Maybe I should look for a "For Dummies" book instead
Date published: 2020-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Enjoyable, Very Informative I just finished this excellent course. In the interest of full disclosure to those reading this, so readers can properly judge my review, I have a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry, know Quantum Theory at a post-graduate level, and have taken advanced physics and math courses. I have always been interested in the "quantum world", particle physics, and cosmology/astronomy. As such, I follow advances in these fields (including the "Standard Model) in journals such as Science and Nature. The entire idea that "Everything" from perhaps before the Big Bang to the end of time can be explained in some future Theory of Everything (TOE) just blows my mind. I bought this course to answer my questions about how quarks, leptons, bosons, the Higgs Boson, dark energy/matter, i.e., all these sorts of things come together in the big picture. And answer them, it does! Professor Lincoln successfully presents the material in a comprehensive manner, without any hint of condescension, rambling about, or dropping names and technical jargon just to impress. His style is smooth and is one that "reveals" what its all about rather than just lecturing to us. To be sure, no kidding around, in reality the Standard Model of physics is extremely advanced and complicated -and involves lots of math that is beyond me. Its unlikely that there will ever be publications such as "The Standard Model made Simple", or "TOE for Dummies". These subjects are what they are! Despite this, Professor Lincoln manages to explain things step-by-step and does an excellent job leading one along the path toward a TOE starting with scientists such as Newton and Maxwell, right up to Peter Higgs and many others working on the endeavor today. I especially found the last few lectures quite satisfying. Professor Lincoln does very well in putting it all together. He explains with excellent graphics where Science, or better put, Humanity, stands today with respect to a TOE -and what to look for going forward. My thanks to profession Lincoln for developing and presenting this course, and to TGC for producing it. It would be great if a supplementary lecture or two could be tacked on now or in a few years to update everyone on this exciting field. Highly Recommended.
Date published: 2020-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest Course of all Time! Greatest Course of all Time! It is a really good course for all Physics lovers.
Date published: 2020-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Humbling yet stimulating Sometimes it's good to step out of your comfort zone (mine happens to be earth science) and try out something new...in this case, well, everything, or at least its theory. It's like when I was just beginning 3rd grade, but my school at the time had limited classroom space, so my class was combined with a 5th grade class. Half the time the 3rd graders got their lessons, the other half of the time the 5th graders chimed in. My 3rd grade mind just couldn't wrap my head around what those 5th graders were learning...I recognized the words and numbers, but the methodology was lost on me. Fast forward to Dr Don Lincoln and this course. He represents the cutting edge of particle physics and the efforts to unify ALL aspects of physics (including chemistry, astrophysics, quantum mechanics and virtually all other physical sciences) into one, all-encompassing explanation (read, theory) of everything! And I'm still trying to grasp those 5th grade times tables. Well, not exactly, but I think you get the metaphor. Dr Lincoln's clear, well-organized approach first laid the groundwork by weaving together important historical theories and pioneers in the world of physics and mechanics (guys like Newton, Einstein and Bohr), with the most recent discoveries...mostly dealing with the field of particle physics. While I cannot pretend that I understood everything Dr Don had to say, I did come away with a better understanding as to why this type of research is critical to our understanding of the world(s) around us...and those studies can and will lead to the inventions of unimaginable ideas and products that can and will lead to the betterment of all mankind. This is a course that needs to be revisited...often, especially if you're not working at the Fermi Labs. It may not be "On Igneous Rocks" (N.L.Bowen), but it is highly recommended...even by those know-it-all 5th graders. Use a sale and coupon to get the video version...if for no other reason than to catch Dr Don's grin at the end of every lecture!
Date published: 2020-11-02
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Overview

Do you like a good detective story? Join a renowned scientist trying to solve nature's ultimate mystery.

About

Don Lincoln
Don Lincoln

There are so many clues from physics that are staring at us in the face. They are telling us something profound.

INSTITUTION

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

Don Lincoln is a Senior Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). He is also a Guest Professor of High Energy Physics at the University of Notre Dame. He received his Ph.D. in Experimental Particle Physics from Rice University.

Dr. Lincoln's research has been divided between Fermilab's Tevatron Collider, until its close in 2011, and the CERN Large Hadron Collider, located outside Geneva, Switzerland. The author of more than 1,000 scientific publications, his most noteworthy accomplishments include serving on the teams that discovered the top quark in 1995 and confirmed the Higgs boson in 2012. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His writing at a popular level includes many articles as well as four books: Understanding the Universe, The Quantum Frontier, The Large Hadron Collider, and Alien Universe. His enthusiasm for science education earned him the 2013 Outreach Prize from the High Energy Physics Division of the European Physical Society.

Dr. Lincoln has given hundreds of lectures on four continents to a broad range of audiences. He is a blogger for the website of the PBS television series NOVA, and he also writes a weekly column for the online periodical Fermilab Today.

By This Professor

The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality

Trailer

Two Prototype Theories of Everything

01: Two Prototype Theories of Everything

Embark with Dr. Lincoln on a search for a theory of everything-a simple and comprehensive explanation for all physical phenomena in the universe. Confront the incompatibility of our two best prototypes: the standard model of particle physics and the general theory of relativity....

33 min
The Union of Electricity and Magnetism

02: The Union of Electricity and Magnetism

Learn how two seemingly separate phenomena, electricity and magnetism, were shown by James Clerk Maxwell in the 1860s to be aspects of a single underlying force, demonstrating how unification works in physics. Then see how Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism make a remarkable prediction....

28 min
Particles and Waves: The Quantum World

03: Particles and Waves: The Quantum World

Follow one of the strangest turns in modern science: the discovery of the paradoxical world of light, which spawned the theory of quantum mechanics. Discover how light and matter behave as both particles and waves, and look at evidence for this curious feature of the quantum world....

32 min
Einstein Unifies Space, Time, and Light

04: Einstein Unifies Space, Time, and Light

Trace the reasoning that led Einstein to his special theory of relativity, proposed in 1905. Address common misconceptions about this startling new view of time and space, which led to ideas such as mass-energy equivalence, the impossibility of faster-than-light travel, and the space-time continuum....

30 min
Relativistic Quantum Fields and Feynman

05: Relativistic Quantum Fields and Feynman

Take a deeper step into the quantum world, observing how the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED, unites quantum mechanics with special relativity. Discover that the handy sketches of subatomic behavior called Feynman diagrams (named after physicist Richard Feynman) are really equations in disguise....

31 min
Neutrinos Violating Parity and the Weak Force

06: Neutrinos Violating Parity and the Weak Force

Study the weak nuclear force, which is responsible for beta decay: the emission of an electron from a nucleus during radioactive decay. Discover that much more is going on, including weird transformations that pose a challenge to a theory of everything....

31 min
Flavor Changes via the Weak Force

07: Flavor Changes via the Weak Force

Analyze more idiosyncrasies of the weak force, focusing on the three massive particles that mediate its interactions. Discover that the weak force is unique in its ability to change a characteristic called flavor, and learn that at high energies the weak force is exceptionally strong....

29 min
Electroweak Unification via the Higgs Field

08: Electroweak Unification via the Higgs Field

A key step in the quest for a theory of everything has been the realization that the electromagnetic and weak forces are aspects of the same force. Follow the saga of electroweak unification, which culminated in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012....

28 min
Quarks, Color, and the Strong Force

09: Quarks, Color, and the Strong Force

Explore the force that helps hold the atomic nucleus together, called the strong force. Chart the discovery of this mysterious mechanism-which only works at extremely short range-and see how it led to concepts such as quarks, gluons, and the color force, which is responsible for the strong interaction....

32 min
Standard Model Triumphs and Challenges

10: Standard Model Triumphs and Challenges

Bring together all the concepts studied so far to gauge how close physicists are to a theory of everything. Focus on the shortcomings of the standard model. Then zero in on two burning questions: Why is the mass of the Higgs boson so low, and why does matter predominate over antimatter?...

29 min
How Neutrino Identity Oscillates

11: How Neutrino Identity Oscillates

Transition to a new perspective as Professor Lincoln spotlights speculative ideas that may contribute to a theory of everything. In this lecture, explore the mysteries of neutrinos, which are extraordinarily hard to detect yet hold intriguing clues about the possible unity of fundamental forces....

31 min
Conservation Laws and Symmetry: Emmy Noether

12: Conservation Laws and Symmetry: Emmy Noether

Consider why mathematics is such an effective tool for describing nature. Then focus on mathematician Emmy Noether's remarkable insight that links symmetries in the equations of a physical system to conservation laws, such as the conservation of energy and conservation of momentum....

31 min
Theoretical Symmetries and Mathematics

13: Theoretical Symmetries and Mathematics

The first inklings of a successful theory of everything will probably arise from symmetries and group theory. Prepare for this epochal moment by digging into these important mathematical ideas. Also, learn to approach proposed theories of everything with fascination, tinged with healthy skepticism....

31 min
Balancing Force and Matter: Supersymmetry

14: Balancing Force and Matter: Supersymmetry

One of the most attractive ideas for physicists searching for a theory of everything is supersymmetry, which treats force- and matter-carrying particles as interchangeable. Explore major problems that supersymmetry solves and the shortcomings that convince some scientists that perhaps some other ideas must also be considered....

34 min
Why Quarks and Leptons?

15: Why Quarks and Leptons?

The fundamental building blocks of matter are thought to be quarks (which interact by the strong force) and leptons (which interact by the electromagnetic and weak forces). But could there be a deeper level? Explore the theory of preons, which may be even more fundamental than quarks and leptons....

31 min
Newton's Gravity Unifies Earth and Sky

16: Newton's Gravity Unifies Earth and Sky

Gravity is by far the weakest of the fundamental forces. Learn how Newton achieved the first major unification in physics by showing that terrestrial and celestial gravity are the same. He also tacitly equated inertial mass and gravitational mass, leading to the startling theory 250 years later....

29 min
Einstein's Gravity Bends Space-Time

17: Einstein's Gravity Bends Space-Time

Built on the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass, Einstein's general theory of relativity explains gravity in a surprising new way. See how matter and energy determine the shape of space and time. Investigate confirming evidence for general relativity, including the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015.

32 min
What Holds Each Galaxy Together: Dark Matter

18: What Holds Each Galaxy Together: Dark Matter

Trace the discovery of missing mass surrounding most galaxies, which leads scientists to infer that 85% of all matter is "dark" and can't be observed directly. Evaluate the major theories about this discrepancy, and consider its implications for a theory of everything....

33 min
What Pushes the Universe Apart: Dark Energy

19: What Pushes the Universe Apart: Dark Energy

Turn to dark energy, the ghostly energy field that appears to be pushing the universe apart at an ever-greater rate. Learn how this extraordinary discovery was made in 1998, and explore theories that attempt to explain dark energy and its strange consequences....

32 min
Quantum Gravity: Einstein, Strings, and Loops

20: Quantum Gravity: Einstein, Strings, and Loops

A theory of everything must fit gravity into the quantum realm, reconciling the general theory of relativity with the standard model of particle physics. Explore the features of gravity that make this unification so difficult, and evaluate two intriguing approaches: superstring theory and loop quantum gravity....

31 min
From Weak Gravity to Extra Dimensions

21: From Weak Gravity to Extra Dimensions

Venture into extra dimensions to investigate gravity's extraordinary weakness compared to the other fundamental forces. This journey also sheds light on the possible creation of subatomic black holes in particle accelerators and why tiny black holes pose no risk to humanity....

33 min
Big Bang and Inflation Explain Our Universe

22: Big Bang and Inflation Explain Our Universe

Starting with the big bang, plot the history of our universe, focusing on events in the tiniest fraction of the first second, when phenomena such as supersymmetry, superstrings, and quantum loops may have come into play. Consider the explanatory power of the theory of cosmic inflation....

32 min
Free Parameters and Other Universes

23: Free Parameters and Other Universes

Now step into the realm of other universes. Do they exist? If so, how could we possibly know? Start by examining the free parameters that govern the structure and behavior of our universe. Then seek answers to four crucial questions that address why the parameters take the values that they do....

31 min
Toward a Final Theory of Everything

24: Toward a Final Theory of Everything

Finish the course by reviewing unified theories since Newton, analyzing a remarkable equation that brings major insights together and represents the current status of a theory of everything. Then look ahead to the next steps, and hear Dr. Lincoln's own research agenda for this momentous quest....

35 min