Yale is Teaching Me Astrophysics for Free

I’ve decided to take a course at Yale University called Astronomy 161 – Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics. Yale has agreed to allow me, a family doctor who enjoys astronomy without rigorous mathematics, to take this course for free. Although I will earn no official credit from Yale, I will be able to listen in with all the other Ivy League students in the class. Since I’m kind of busy, Yale has agreed to teach me in my bedroom when I get sleepy.

Yale and a bunch of other universities will do this for you, too.

I’ve known for some time that there are universities sharing online lectures, notes, and syllabi over the internet with the general public. Finally I got around to finding and starting a course. It is fascinating, and provides a nice break from all the continuing medical education in which I’m usually immersed. Although we’ll miss the “real college” weekends of partying and pulling all nighters, we would all be foolish not to sit in on a few of these courses when able.

Here is a list of some great sites that offer online courses. Some only share lecture notes, others stream entire semesters of esteemed professors lecturing. I’ll add more links to this page as I learn of them.

Yale University

OpenCourseWare Consortium
Comprehensive list of links to many universities around the world

U.C. Berkeley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

UChannel, also distributed via Youtube
Academic lectures and affairs from multiple learning institutions


University of Pennsylvania


Clearly this list is tiny, but you get the idea.  There is so much information and innovation out there that I can’t keep up with it all.  We live in an exponential growth phase in terms of accessibility of knowledge.  It gives me hope.


3 thoughts on “Yale is Teaching Me Astrophysics for Free

  1. pelican

    I’ve poked around MIT and Stanford and had a great time, but I’ve fallen away from these as I’ve gotten a little busier … thanks for the reminder!

  2. BLG

    This is great. I saw a few things in the short time I was poking around that I would be very interested in. Thanks for posting this.

  3. MG

    Thanks for the tip! I’m enjoying Princeton’s Atul Gawande lecture and am looking forward to hearing a V.S. Ramachandran lecture next! Can’t wait to revisit my college years with the Yale Fundamentals of Physics course!

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