MIT OpenCourseWare publishes OCW Scholar version of Walter Lewin’s Physics III: Vibrations and Waves

Third core MIT physics class now available in unique format that supports free independent study

Double rainbow over Boston Harbor. (Image courtesy of Matt Conti. Used with permission.)

Double rainbow over Boston Harbor. (Image courtesy of Matt Conti. Used with permission.)

CAMBRIDGE, MA, December 5, 2013 — MIT OpenCourseWare has released 8.03SC Physics III: Vibrations and Waves in the OCW Scholar format, designed specifically to support independent study. Taught by famed Professor Walter Lewin, this is the third course in the core MIT physics curriculum to be published in the OCW Scholar format, following 8.01SC Physics I: Classical Mechanics and 8.02SC Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism.

8.03SC materials cover the physics behind mechanical vibrations and waves, electromagnetic waves and optics as expressed in musical instruments, red sunsets, glories, coronae, rainbows, haloes, X-ray binaries, neutron stars, black holes and big-bang cosmology. The course includes some of Professor Lewin’s well-known demonstrations, including breaking a wine glass with a tone generator and showing Rayleigh scattering in cigarette smoke.

8.03SC includes the complete set of Professor Lewin’s 23 video lectures from the MIT campus course—featured in a previous OCW publication of 8.03—which has already inspired millions to love and understand physics. For the OCW Scholar version, a team of physics educators including Professor Wit Busza, Dr. George Stephans, and Professor Martin Connors (Athabasca University) developed new materials to facilitate a more complete independent learning experience.

Materials developed specifically for this OCW Scholar course include:

  • Viewing Notes that accompany each lecture, highlighting the key points and serving as a useful index for the video
  • Concept Questions and Problem Sets that allow students to gauge their understanding of the materials as well as their progress through the course, and
  • Problem Solving Help Videos that provide step-by-step solutions to sample problems.

MIT’s original version of 8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves from 2004 has received more than one million visits.

About the Team

Professor Walter Lewin earned his PhD in Nuclear Physics at the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands in 1965. He joined the Physics faculty at MIT in 1966. Prof. Lewin is well-known at MIT and beyond for his dynamic and engaging lecture style. His online lectures are watched by about 2 million people yearly. Lewin has received five teaching awards. He is the only MIT Professor featured in “The Best 300 Professors” of The Princeton Review. In 2011, Professor Lewin co-authored with Warren Goldstein the book For the Love of Physics (Free Press, Simon & Schuster).

Professor Wit Busza joined MIT in 1969 and has been teaching and doing research ever since. He has received several awards for his outstanding teaching, including The School of Science Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at MIT (1993). He was also recognized as one of MIT’s best teachers and mentors by being appointed a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 1995. Professor Busza developed and recorded the problem-solving videos for this OCW Scholar course.

Dr. George S.F. Stephans is a Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department at MIT and a Senior Research Scientist in the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science. His research work involves collisions of very high-energy atomic nuclei. His most recent experiments use the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He has many years of experience teaching physics classes at MIT. Dr. Stephans acted as Editor-in-Chief of this OCW Scholar course, contributing content as well as editorial expertise.

Martin Connors is Professor of Space Science and Physics at Canada’s Athabasca University which has online, for-credit, physics courses that use Prof. Lewin’s video lectures. He has been a Visiting Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA. His interests include auroras and asteroids as well as modern methods in science teaching.  He wrote the viewing notes and concept questions for this OCW Scholar Course.

About OCW Scholar Courses

OCW Scholar courses represent a new approach to OCW publication. Instead of simply publishing materials as they were used in MIT classes, the OCW team works closely with faculty and teaching staff to restructure the learning experience for independent learners, who typically have few additional resources available to them. The courses offer more materials than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content.

The first OCW Scholar courses were launched by MIT OpenCourseWare in January 2011. There are now fourteen courses in Biology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics. OCW Scholar courses are published on the OCW site with the support of the Stanton Foundation.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,180 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 2.2 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 170 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.  MIT OpenCourseWare is supported by donations from site visitors, grants and corporate sponsorship.

About the Stanton Foundation

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications. During his 25 years as president of CBS, he turned a lesser-known radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton made many historic contributions to the industry and to the society it served. In 1960, he initiated the first televised presidential debates—the famous Nixon-Kennedy “Great Debates”—which required a special Act of Congress before they could proceed.  He also spearheaded the creation of the first coast-to-coast broadcasting system, allowing CBS to become the first network to present a news event live across the continental United States, a speech by President Truman at the opening of the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco. Frank Stanton was the commencement speaker at MIT in 1961.

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