10 episodes

Our exploration of the theoretical underpinnings of modern physics begins with classical mechanics, the mathematical physics worked out by Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and later by Joseph Lagrange (1736–1813) and William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865). We will start by taking a close look at Newtonian mechanics and the integral concepts of force, momentum, and gravity. Later, when we turn our attention to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, we will delve into potential and kinetic energy, the principle of least action, and chaos theory.


This course marks the beginning of a six-quarter sequence of courses that will explore the essential theoretical foundations of modern physics. The topics covered will include classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, the general and special theories of relativity, electromagnetism, cosmology, and black holes. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well. Both individually and collectively they will let students attain the “theoretical minimum” for thinking intelligently about modern physics.


This course was presented by Stanford's Continuing Studies program.

Modern Physics: Classical Mechanics (Fall 2011‪)‬ Leonard Susskind

    • Podcasts
    • 4.2 • 26 Ratings

Our exploration of the theoretical underpinnings of modern physics begins with classical mechanics, the mathematical physics worked out by Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and later by Joseph Lagrange (1736–1813) and William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865). We will start by taking a close look at Newtonian mechanics and the integral concepts of force, momentum, and gravity. Later, when we turn our attention to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, we will delve into potential and kinetic energy, the principle of least action, and chaos theory.


This course marks the beginning of a six-quarter sequence of courses that will explore the essential theoretical foundations of modern physics. The topics covered will include classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, the general and special theories of relativity, electromagnetism, cosmology, and black holes. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well. Both individually and collectively they will let students attain the “theoretical minimum” for thinking intelligently about modern physics.


This course was presented by Stanford's Continuing Studies program.

    • video
    1. Classical Mechanics Lecture 1 (September 26, 2011)

    1. Classical Mechanics Lecture 1 (September 26, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind gives a brief introduction to the mathematics behind physics including the addition and multiplication of vectors as well as velocity and acceleration in terms of particles. (September 26, 2011)

    • 5 sec
    • video
    2. Classical Mechanics Lecture 2 (October 3, 2011)

    2. Classical Mechanics Lecture 2 (October 3, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind discusses the some of the basic laws and ideas of modern physics. In this lecture, he focuses on some of the incorrect laws of motion that were first proposed by Aristotle. (October 3, 2011)

    • 5 sec
    • video
    3. Classical Mechanics Lecture 3 (October 10, 2011)

    3. Classical Mechanics Lecture 3 (October 10, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind discusses lagrangian functions as they relate to coordinate systems and forces in a system. (October 10, 2011)

    • 6 sec
    • video
    4. Classical Mechanics Lecture 4 (October 17, 2011)

    4. Classical Mechanics Lecture 4 (October 17, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind discusses the some of the basic laws and ideas of modern physics. In this lecture, he focuses symmetry and conservation laws, including the principle of least action and Lagrangian methods. (October 17, 2011)

    • 6 sec
    • video
    5. Classical Mechanics Lecture 5 (October 24, 2011)

    5. Classical Mechanics Lecture 5 (October 24, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind discusses different particle transformations as well as how to represent and analyze them using tools like the LaGrangian. (October 24, 2011)

    • 7 sec
    • video
    6. Classical Mechanics Lecture 6 (November 1, 2011)

    6. Classical Mechanics Lecture 6 (November 1, 2011)

    Leonard Susskind discusses the some of the basic laws and ideas of modern physics. In this lecture, he focuses on the motion of objects. (November 1, 2011)

    • 6 sec

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Physics 1970s Grad ,

Outstanding Introduction to a beautiful subject

Leonard Susskind's fall 2011 course stands out by covering the essential core concepts in classical mechanics in a clear and widely accessible manner. His new Modern Physics series continues to improve as he revisits topics he has previously covered in past years. It also seems that some of the students have taken his lecture series before and are now asking generally sharper and more insightful questions. His responses to these more pointed questions adds significantly to the overall learning experience.

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