Where Can I Learn Physics Online?
Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn about a topic like physics, you had to either take a course or read a book and attempt to navigate it yourself. A subject like physics could be particularly challenging without any outside source of guidance. Thanks to technology, however, all you need is a computer with an internet connection, and you can learn practically everything there is to know about even the most challenging topics.
Many schools and other organizations offer free or inexpensive classes on various topics online, and physics is one of the most popular areas of study. From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to Khan Academy, there are several places where you can learn physics on your own time and at your own pace, all without ever leaving your home.
Coursera offers thousands of classes taught by top instructors from universities and companies around the world. Each course is 100 percent online, and most feature videos, discussion boards, homework assignments, lectures and more. In some cases, the courses can even help you earn degrees and certificates.
Physics courses are available from institutions like Stanford University, University of Virginia, University of Geneva, University of Maryland and University of Tokyo. When you search for physics courses on the site, you can sort them by language, skill level, duration and more.
Physics.org is managed by the U.K.-based Physics Institute, and it’s your source for all things physics. You’ll find games, ideas for experiments, links to other vetted online resources, information on careers in physics and advice for studying the field. Under the “Explore” section of the website, you’ll find free lectures, online courses and educational materials. Each of them comes with a helpful summary of the subjects discussed.
Founded in 2012, EdX is an online learning website founded by experts at MIT and Harvard. Like Coursera, it offers free and paid classes on thousands of topics taught by university professors, nonprofit professionals and business experts from some of the top organizations in the world. The goal is to provide university-level educational opportunities to everyone around the world.
The site offers many self-paced and instructor-led physics courses, ranging from general courses, like Question Everything: Scientific Thinking in Real Life, to more specialized topics Introductory Electricity and Magnetism. Classes are available in multiple languages.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization that offers free instructional videos, exercises and more in a number of topics, including physics. Content is geared toward specific age groups, such as elementary or high school students.
For physics, you can also select from a list of topics, including one and two-dimensional motion; torque and angular momentum; and electric charge, field and potential to tackle. You can start from the beginning with Introduction to Physics and work your way through every topic or pick the ones that interest you most. There’s also a review section for the AP Physics Exam if you’re a high school student.
In 2001, MIT announced that it would make all of its undergraduate and graduate course material available online for anyone to use as an educational resource. Today, MIT OpenCourseWare has thousands of courses available on its site, including a sizable section on physics. Courses include Physics I: Classical Mechanics, String Theory for Undergraduates, Introduction to Neural Networks and Astrophysics II, among dozens of others. Courses may feature videos, online textbooks, transcripts from lectures and assignments that were given to students who took the class in the past.