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Scientific Thinking

via Brilliant


Explaining the world means thinking with scientific principles — but usually they're cloaked in technical manipulations. In this course we'll dispense with number-crunching and mathematics in search of something more useful: physical insight.

There are no prerequisites for this course — in it you'll explore the laws of physics and principles of engineering and learn the rules as you play. There will be plenty of surprises along the way, but by the end you'll have gained the understanding and insight to look at the world in a different way.


  • Introduction: Learn as you play with these scientific puzzles.
    • Nature is a Puzzle: What does the world look like to a scientist?
    • Science Rules: Nature follows certain rules, learn how to use them.
    • House of Mirrors: Learn how light moves by solving these mirror puzzles.
  • Structure: Break down these structures to learn how to build them.
    • Structures: Build a bridge between physics and engineering with rods and joints.
    • Gears: All aboard the gear train.
    • Balance: Are you feeling dizzy? Force balance into your life by exploring mobiles.
    • Pulleys: Can you use pulleys to lift an elephant with your hand?
    • Snooker: This game follows the same rules as a particle accelerator.
  • Flow: Explore what happens when matter and energy are on the move.
    • Hot Matter: Heat causes matter to expand, but not in the way you might think.
    • Heat Flow: Heat is always flowing, and you'll need to follow it to solve these puzzles.
    • Pressure: The water pressure that empties your water cooler can lift a car and explode a barrel.
    • Flow in Pipes: Pipes are in your walls and under your skin.
    • Buoyancy: Would you take a ride on a concrete canoe?
  • Light: Illuminate your path to the quantum realm.
    • Reflection: Are you trapped in a hall of mirrors? Optics can see you out.
    • Light Bending: Light always finds the fastest route.
    • Circuits: Flip switches and screw in light bulbs to learn the rules of electricity.
    • Quantum Light: The world looks darker when you look through sunglasses. Usually.
  • Relativity: Nature doesn't mind which way you look at it.
    • Boats on the River: Go with the flow or stand on the land -- your choice.
    • Ants Marching: Find a problem's natural perspective to shortcut loads of calculation.
    • Bouncy Balls: Turn difficult problems into easier ones you've already solved.
    • Relativity and Simultaneity: Coincidence? It depends on who you ask...
    • Time Travel: Anything is possible, so long as it's in your light cone.


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