Physics: The Edge of Knowledge

TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. The Edge of Knowledge explores the fascinating implications of some of science's most perplexing theories: quantum mechanics, general relativity and attempts to unify them. Learn how scientists combine sophisticated mathematics and ambitious experimentation like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to advance our understanding of the universe. Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: theoretical particle physics, experimental particle physics, astrophysics, quantum field theory, string theory, supersymmetry and dark matter.

Learning outcomes

TED's The Edge of Knowledge will provide learners with a deeper understanding of:

  • The basic building blocks of the universe: the known elementary particles of the Standard Model and those that we think might be missing
  • The weirdness of quantum physics and why it is so counter intuitive to our everyday experience
  • The interconnectedness of the universe, from the very smallest subatomic scales to the vastest distances of the cosmos
  • The principles that guide scientific thought and the underlying simplicity and elegance that is present in the fundamental laws of physics
  • The intimate and beautiful relationship between the laws of nature and the language of mathematics in which they are written.

Relevant talks

Introductory essay

Begin The Edge of Knowledge with a fascinating read that gives context and clarity to the material.

About the educators

TED Studies professor: Jeff Forshaw

Jeff Forshaw is professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester. He is author of over 100 scientific papers and several books including the best-selling popular science books Why does E=mc2? (da Capo) and The Quantum Universe (Penguin/da Capo), which he co-authored with Professor Brian Cox.

TED Studies professor: Peter Millington

Peter Millington has a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester and is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield, working on the mathematical formulation underpinning the physics of the very early universe.

About TED Studies

TED Studies created in partnership with
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Each TED Study offers a curated and sequenced set of TED Talks, along with specially commissioned materials for teaching and self-guided learning. Created by world class experts, they cover topics ranging from "Understanding Happiness" to "Covering World News" to "Ecofying Cities." An abbreviated version of TED Studies is offered here; the full curricula — including special modules on each talk with questions, assignments, key terms and recommended reading — are available for licensing to academic institutions, ministries of education, and media companies worldwide.

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