Learning facilitated by good lecturing, well prepared lectures and excellent quizzes.\n\nLecturer Mike Brown, enthusiastic about his subject, generous in sharing his knowledge, humorous, and honest.
Challenging. Amazing. Mind-Blowing.\n\nSpace enthusiasts should totally do this course. And yeah, did I say that Mike Brown is the coolest teacher ever. Never a dull moment in the lectures. :)
Could you add a sixth star, just for this course please? To this day I have attended something like 15 courses on Coursera and this is the best one hands down. Not only is Mike Brown one of the top planetary scientists in the whole world (and in this course, you'll follow some of his research as he is doing it – AWESOME!) but he is also a terrific teacher. If you take this course you won't only learn a bunch of facts about the solar system, you will learn how to think like a planetary scientist (ok, you'll start at least). The course is very well structured, very comprehensive, a massive amount of data is presented in a very digestible way, you're exposed to most of the theories which are out there, there is little maths (unfortunately, some will think, but don't worry there is plenty of scientific reasoning) and it is introduced in a piecemeal way and very nicely explained. Mike Brown is enthusiastic, passionate, but not so much that he cannot relate to someone who doesn’t share his passion with him (as was my case when I began following this course). He is nice and relaxed but don't act as if he was your pale. There are guest lecturers and the quality of their teaching is on average significantly lower than Brown's but don't worry, even when he is not there, he is still there: he has annotated their slides when their presentations were unclear. Plus, it's nice to have a glimpse at what experts say on the topics on which Brown is not an expert. Is there room any for improvement? Maybe there could have been more recaps of the evidence in the sessions on water of Mars but I'm quibbling here. If you like science, you'll like this course. If you don't, you will (well, at least it's very likely you will.) Beware though, this course will make you sad. You will be sad not to be able to fly to Los Angeles and enroll at Caltech to study planetary science under Brown's supervision (no, this is NOT a joke).
by Jakob G•
The best course I've ever taken, and the course I've needed since I was a teenager.
Mike Brown is not reading from his script, even if he has one. He's showing, drawing, writing and explaining in a way that totally removes the otherwise numb feeling of one-way communication of an illustrated audio text that so many other online courses suffer from.
I need more of this, when is the sequel released?!?
by Gwenolé B•
Awesome course. Quite challenging for someone with no (formal) science background, but fascinating and well worth it!
by Darryl S•
This is the course I wish I had back when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. Most interesting course ever, and Mike is very passionate about the subject. Highly recommended!
by Hely B•
This online course is incredible. Mike Brown, and the rest of the team responsible for preparing it, achieved a remarkable course about the Solar System, covering many of the main aspects of the science related to it.
This course provides both general and in depth information regarding the Solar System. It focus on the astronomy, astrobiology and astrogeology aspects of Solar System exploration, and delves into the planets, small bodies (e.g. asteroids) and other fascinating features of our cosmic neighbourhood.
The lectures alone provide good depth for all the subjects explored, with good explanations of the core concepts used (e.g. density calculations, spectroscopy analysis etc.). Not only that, but for those more versed in planetary sciences and the more curious ones, a great set of recommended readings are also provided, easily supplying the students with hours of fascinating papers and articles to further detail the ideas presented.
By the end of the course, the student is armed with a good general understanding of the properties of the Solar System, it's history and current scientific research aims and questions. As a geologist, I finished the course with new insights of how research in my area of expertise may be useful in answering some of the big questions being tackled, and how important it is important in the exploration and understanding of the Solar System (as well as various other fields of science) .
I recommend the experience for anyone interested in knowing more about the Solar System, or those interested in Planetary Sciences in general. For the geologists and geology students, it provides a welcome fresh view of how versatile the geosciences can be, and how they can be used outside the traditional fields more commonly known. It demands some time (at least 2-3 hours a week if you follow the dates), but definitely worth the investment.
by Paras K•
The lectures are engaging and replete with thought provoking material. Professor Brown's in depth knowledge of the field and his passion for planetary science aroused an everlasting curiosity.
by Kristy H•
Dr. Brown is an amazing teacher who is able to explain complex concepts clearly. He uses data from past and current primary scientific research on relevant discoveries. Quizzes are not just based on recall, but ask you to apply the concepts. I've taken this course multiple times (it is updated occasionally) because it's just that good!
by Diego F•
Great course, it has a huge content about our solar system, starting with a lot of discussion about mars/water. It is hard because the nature of the topics, but Mike Brown explains really well the content.
by GOURAV N•
Challenging. Amazing. Mind-Blowing.
Space enthusiasts should totally do this course. And yeah, did I say that Mike Brown is the coolest teacher ever. Never a dull moment in the lectures. :)
by Andrew W J•
And excellent, deep yet accessible introduction into what we know about the solar system, the science behind our knowledge, and the big questions under investigation.
by Alex R•
Excellent course. Very interesting and motivating.
by Aishwarya T•
A great course!
by Anthony Y•
It was really a privilege to be taught by a world renowned expert in his field. Professor Brown teaches clearly and with enthusiasm. I would love to be one of his grad students! Everyone should take this course. It’s amazing the work his team does and what they are discovery about the universe.
Thank you, Dr Brown!
by Shimon S•
This is by far, the best course I've ever taken! Space is the future! If you have an interest in space or know someone that does....I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking this course. After you've successfully completed this course....you'll feel greatly rewarded!!!
by Carolyn E•
Learning facilitated by good lecturing, well prepared lectures and excellent quizzes.
Lecturer Mike Brown, enthusiastic about his subject, generous in sharing his knowledge, humorous, and honest.
by Carol J•
Fantastic and wonderfully entertaining course.
Dr. Mike Brown makes each lecture exciting and interesting.
by Kirk B•
Almost wish I could forget everything I just learned so I could take it again. Fantastic course.
by Hellas F•
the best course ever. It's the only one that i have rated with 5 stars. Really amazing
by Eskil S•
Great course and superb teaching!
by John S•
Best course so far!
by Alex W•
by Jonathan F C•
Good but not extraordinary. Mike Brown's lectures were good to excellent, but some of the guest lectures were hard to follow. A summary of critical concepts after each lecture would have been useful. Quizzes often emphasized material that was skimmed over or not clarified in lectures. The math was not hard, but solving problems with unknown or undeveloped equations was difficult. Lab exercises would have been a useful addition—I don't think one learns much from listening to lectures only. And a reading list of linked relevant papers would have been a nice addition. Looking for the false statement in the quizzes may have been pedagogically useful, but often resulted in "trick" questions. All in all, I learned a lot, although because the recent 2017 cosmological advances were not incorporated in the course, I don't feel "at the cutting edge".
by Gary L•
This is a serious-minded and often inspirational introduction that reaches out to the space enthusiast inside us. References are extensive, about half taken from original literature, with the remainder being mostly review articles or educational presentations and vetted Wikipedia pieces. Useful and important web-sites are invoked. Video format lectures are presented by Professor Mike Brown in a good-humored conversational style best watched at least once in advance of the week designated for the topic, especially if the learner would like to take part in or learn from an online discussion group. There is a weekly quiz. When quiz questions are graded, comments are usually appended that are intended to advance the student’s learning. These are a nice touch, and helpful.
Each week’s lectures are usefully broken up into about ten rather digestible mini sections of 10 - 20 minutes each. Selected special topics are presented by other Caltech faculty as guest lecturers, often those who have done original research on the topic, which adds to the depth of the material. I found the course very informative, and felt challenged. A lot of the material is qualitative and much of it speculative, probably a necessity given the nature of the observational data. I found it difficult to remember details such as names of the satellites and asteroids, and the classifications of geochemistry and geology. Fortunately, there are computers to help with that. I spent an average of at least 10 hours/week on the course.
by Dan M•
I found this course to be of substantial value. Though it's old enough now its age is showing, the great bulk of the material presented is still current and provides a solid basis for understanding the solar system science. A few references to "upcoming missions" or studies which have now, in 2020, already occurred or begun is forgivable. As more time passes though, these will become questionable to still be included. I learned a ton in this course. One of the main ways I did so is in the quiz/feedback/retry cycle. As I'm not taking this course for credit but instead, for the knowledge itself, it would do little good for me to miss a question, be told I missed it and have it dropped there. Getting feedback on the response I chose and an opportunity to review the material and try again to demonstrate, to myself and the grade-bot, I have learned the material allowed me to leave the completed course feeling like I learned more than I would have otherwise. If there were one piece of constructive comment I can make it is I was surprised by the number of typographical errors and/or omissions in the pop-ups and the quizzes. I saw quite a few instances of mistakes there even rudimentary proofreading should have corrected. This far into the life of this course, it may be of diminishing value to have someone spend time making these corrections but, I do see it as reflecting on Caltech's quality just a tiny bit. Overall, a great course and a great experience.
by Pasquale D S•
It's a remarkable course, it makes you feel like attending a class at Caltech by one of the best (and funny!) planetary scientists in the world. Yes, there are a few (elementary) calculations needed (which is good!), but above all it shows you how one has acquired scientific knowledge on such fascinating topics. It leaves you with awe not because it's adopting a popular science attitude, but because it helps you understand the subject, avoiding technicalities when unnecessary but without refraining from them when useful or needed. It's a intellectually challenging yet rewarding experience, while remaining largely accessible to the motivated student. When over, you'll be sad! If I have to find a negative point: There is no recap/lecture notes provided, you have to rely on yours (like at a good old university classes!) and on the forum. On the other hand, hints and links to extra resources are provided, if you want to deepen the subject(s). Thanks to Prof. Brown, I'll never look at the Solar System the same way. I really hope that a more advanced course in similar subjects is provided some day, for those of us who are not afraid of calculus, of orbital mechanics, and some more advanced chemistry, geology and biology notions.