Sorry for such a delayed post. It took me some time to get my mind right after the mugging and grinding it underwent in the major exams. There will be a post on the major exams; they constitute a very important and frustrating part of our life at IIT, but more of that later.
The 3 month long summer vacation gives us ample time chill and hang out with friends, read novels, watch movies and also to learn something. I have highlighted few of the free available university courses that you can do in the summer. My view is that they should not be taken as courses but rather a fun way to learn something that interests you. And after all, Education begins after college is over. So here are some of the courses I recommend –
- Physics – New Revolutions in Particle Physics: This course covers the new revolutions in particle physics starting from the standard model, to quarks, supersymmetrey, string theory, cosmology etc. It brings the student up to date to the latest and most exciting development in physics in a very easy and non-mathematical way.
History- Yale has a couple of very interesting courses on History.
HIST 202 – European Civilization, 1648-1945This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years’ War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations between demographic change, political revolution, and cultural development. Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the study of exemplary works of art, literature, and cinema.
This is an introductory course in Greek history tracing the development of Greek civilization as manifested in political, intellectual, and creative achievements from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period. Students read original sources in translation as well as the works of modern scholars.
These courses taken By J.Merriman and Donald Kagan respectively are a bonus. They are both masters of history and leading scholars at Yale. There are no better teachers of History anywhere to be found. I highly recommend these for any history enthusiast.
- Philosophy: To anyone vaguely interested in Philosophy I would recommend the Oxford Introductory Course on Philosophy. This is basically made up of 4 lectures each of about 1.5 hours. The lectures are a critical survey of the development of philosophy beginning from Pre-Socretian times to the modern era. Here’s the link –
This course is an introduction to game theory and strategic thinking. Ideas such as dominance, backward induction, Nash equilibrium, evolutionary stability, commitment, credibility, asymmetric information, adverse selection, and signaling are discussed and applied to games played in class and to examples drawn from economics, politics, the movies, and elsewhere.
Also a highly interesting video I came across is the reading of Marx’s Capital. Check it out (http://davidharvey.org/)
Religious Studies: Yale is one of the few universities that offer non-biased and critical study of Christianity. The courses below cover the foundations of Jewish and Christian Religions through the Old Testament and Modern Christianity through the New Testament.
This course examines the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as an expression of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel, and a foundational document of Western civilization. A wide range of methodologies, including source criticism and the historical-critical school, tradition criticism, redaction criticism, and literary and canonical approaches are applied to the study and interpretation of the Bible. Special emphasis is placed on the Bible against the backdrop of its historical and cultural setting in the Ancient Near East.
RLST 152 – Introduction to New Testament History and Literature
This course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity (-ies).
- History of Art – One of the few organized courses on the History of Art.
HSAR 252 – Roman Architecture
This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner’s personal collection
Yaa I seriously believe we should learn something this summer. There are a lot more resources on the internet for all sorts of varied interests. Any particular interests let me know. I and Vikas will be doing some course or the other this summer. Will share the details with you soon.