You see NASA and the media continue to say how the foam hit the shuttle, and I know it’s just a matter of semantics, but what actually happened was that the shuttle hit the foam. Subtle difference I know, yet for me an all too important one. This distinction (and the event) sparked a hidden passion inside of me and a desire to learn more. It was on this scientific journey, this quest for knowledge, that I encountered Professor Walter Lewin and his lectures on Electricity and Magnetism.
What an awesome discovery that was for me. You see Prof. Lewin’s MIT undergraduate video lectures are free as part of MIT’s OpenCourseWare. It just goes to show the power of the world wide web and the amazing learning tool it can turn out to be.
Six years later, and Prof. Lewin is all the rage now. He’s a huge hit on iTunes, YouTube and college campuses around the world. Outside of the fact that he is on staff at the prestigious MIT he is also a renowed astronomer. Even with all of those credentials and his tight schedule, I emailed him a physics question and he responded within a few minutes. The guy is very cool. Most of the lectures are extremely funny and if you watch them in sequence, you just might learn something. I certainly did.
So now I encourage you to look for that hidden passion that’s deep down inside of you and explore it. Find out all you can (from trusted sources of course). Surprise yourself and go to the library or go down the aisle in the bookstore that you have never been down before. Try something new and see where it takes you.
The quest will be so satisfying that you’ll be glad you did. Let me know what you find, and where you find it.
This post was originally published in August of 2009 and has become one of the most popular posts on this blog. In September 2009, I discovered a blog called Never Mind the Pedagogy from Markuos. In his post about Academic Earth he shares information about additional free online learning resources and video lectures covering every major university discipline including Professor Lewin. Here’s an excerpt from his post including the list of the video lectures you can watch at the Academic Earth website:
Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world class education’.
Courses and subjects covered include:
- Google I/O 2010 For Dummies (msileanesblog.blogspot.com)
- Top 5 Social Media Extensions for Chrome (ileane.wordpress.com)
- Tribute to PBS Programming (ileane.wordpress.com)