Walter Lewin bigraphy, stories - Dutch astrophysicist

Walter Lewin : biography

31 January 1936 -

Walter H. G. Lewin, Ph.D. (born January 29, 1936) is a Dutch astrophysicist and professor emeritus of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


For about 15 years (starting in 1982) Lewin was on MIT Cable TV, with every week a different 1-hour program. They were aired 24 hours per day helping freshmen with their weekly homework assignments (they were called "Help Sessions"). Walter Lewin's 1992 lectures on Newtonian Mechanics (co-lectured with Bob Ledoux) and Lewin's "Help Sessions" have been shown for over six years (starting in 1995) on UWTV in Seattle, WA, reaching an audience of about four million people. Lewin personally responded to thousands of e-mail requests that he received per year from UWTV viewers. Videos of Lewin's 94 lectures on (1999), (2002) and the (2004), among others, can be viewed on the MIT OpenCourseWare web site, on YouTube, on iTunes and on Earth Academic.

On May 16, 2011, he gave a very Special Lecture at MIT for 700 people called "". After this lecture, there was a book signing of his new book called: (with co-author of his book Warren Goldstein) "For the Love of Physics". Dr. Walter Lewin's physics lectures are now viewed by about 2 million people yearly. In December of the year 2007 The New York Times featured Lewin on the front page with the heading: "".

A compilation of Dr. Walter Lewin drawing dashed lines on chalk boards during lectures at MIT has become a .

on October 26, 2011, Lewin gave a lecture in Delft, the Netherlands, titled ""

The Lecture "" Dr. Lewin gave in Barcelona on Febr. 15, 2012.

On October 9, 2012 Lewin gave a colloquium at MIT "the Pioneering Decade of X-ray Astronomy". It will soon be added to MIT TECH TV.

On Nov 26, 2012 Lewin gave a talk in Dutch for 1000 high school students in Delft, the Netherlands. This was the first time in 50 years that he gave a talk in Dutch. Surprisingly, the language was not a problem at all.

During the summer of 2012 Lewin gave 8 lectures at MIT for the general public in Japan. They are shown in Japan by NHK TV. These lectures will go on line (English version) in 2014. NHK, who paid for these lectures, has the sole rights for one year.

Lewin is presently converting 3 of his lecture courses into MITx courses. People who pass "x" courses will get a certificate from MIT. Lewin's course on Electricity and Magnetism went on line in February 2013. Newtonian Mechanics will go on line in September 2013, and the Physics of Vibrations and Waves will probably go online in February 2014.

Skype lectures

Since 2011, Lewin started giving lecture on Skype for small classes all over the world. He would talk for 30 minutes and do interesting demonstrations which are not intuitive. Then he would allow the students (age bracket 12-16) to ask questions for about 30 minutes. These lectures are very successful and very efficient for Lewin as he does not have to travel.

edX Courses

  • [ 8.01x: Classical Mechanics (MITx)]
  • [ 8.02x: Electricity and Magnetism (MITx)]

Classes on MIT OpenCourseWare

List of MIT Videos

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The following 8 lectures were for the general public - some were even for kids (and parents). They can be viewed in .

  • How to Make Teaching Come Alive? - for middle school science teachers
  • Polarization, Rainbows and Cheap Sunglasses - for kids & parents
  • The Birth and Death of Stars - for a general audience
  • The Sounds of Music - for kids & their parents.
  • The Mystery of Light - for high school students & science teachers
  • The Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism - for kids & their parents
  • Looking at 20th Century Art Through the Eyes of a Physicist
  • For the Love of Physics May 16, 2011.
Living octopus

Living octopus

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