Tag Archives: Sidney Coleman


I was told on friday that Sidney Coleman’s famous Quantum Field Theory course was actually videotaped in the 70’s and now exists online, and it’s true ! It’s kind of awesome, but also a little bit depressing, like when someone gives you the most recent season of the Wire on DVD–you know you have to now devote a huge amount of time to it (75 hours of QFT!). I just watched the first lecture, and the man is compelling, even when talking about sign conventions! The video doesn’t pick up the board real well (I remember a while back, there were some written circulating notes from this course, does anybody know where I can get them?). I haven’t felt so learned in black in white since that one summer when I stumbled upon the oddly magnetic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen on public television (for the good bishop on the subject of temptation, see here . I love his blackboard work!). A few comments about the Coleman videos:

1. Man, the 70’s looked like they sucked. Glad I didn’t live through them.

2. Sidney Coleman is a nerd’s nerd right from his Wallace Shawn voice to Urkel-esque laugh.

3. He’s also kind of a badass. Throughout this first class, I think he must smoke about twenty cigarettes. He also gets obvious glee from twisting his moustache at several points. And there’s nothing not awesome about that.



Quantum Mechanics in Your Face

If, today, you feel as if you should be doing work, but don’t really want to do any, may I suggest a video of a Sidney Coleman Lecture: Quantum Mechanics in Your Face? You’ll learn and be entertained.

The lecture is fantastic and consists of the late, great Coleman discussing a version of Bell’s theorem (which is much easier to understand than the standard treatment), and then going on to discuss the “mysterious” “collapse of the wavefunction”. It’s great stuff. All that’s required for enjoyment is a basic undergrad QM course…