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Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World (Transcript)

990 pages


Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World is the companion book to the audio/video series of the same name. It contains a full transcript of the series as well as the complete course guidebook which includes lecture notes, bibliography, and more.

About this series:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. —Arthur C. Clarke In the last 100 years, the world has undergone a tremendous revolution made possible by advances in modern electronics. Electronic devices—which manipulate electrons or their associated fields in fundamental ways to produce a useful effect—have provided us with ubiquitous, massive computational power; allow us to communicate nearly instantly with loved ones across the globe; can flawlessly record, safeguard, and display information; and provide us with tremendously precise control of manufacturing devices and medical instruments. They are fundamental to our global economy, improve our lives immeasurably, and underlie virtually every aspect of modern life. Yet very few of us have any idea of how electronic devices actually work. In fact, these increasingly complex devices, which seem nearly magical to us, operate on a few basic principles that are both fascinating and easy to understand. Now, in Understanding Modern Electronics, award-winning Professor of Physics Richard Wolfson provides a working explanation of the principles that govern electronic circuits, then shows these principles in action with devices you use every day. In 24 clear and easily accessible lectures, Professor Wolfson combines his academic expertise, including many years of teaching electronics at Middlebury College, and his lifelong avocation as an electronics hobbyist to examine how these remarkable devices work, bypassing much of the higher mathematics without sacrificing functional and theoretical understanding. Whether you're an aspiring engineer, an enthusiastic tinkerer, or simply intellectually curious, this course will demystify the behavior and inner circuitry of electronic devices and inspire you to see technology in a whole new light. Meet the Usual Suspects Modern electronics emerged from electro-mechanical technology such as wires, motors, batteries, and switches with the invention of the vacuum tube—a device that made it possible to amplify electrical signals. This spectacularly useful function, which underlies the entire field of electronics, made possible the development of radio technology and long distance telephony. Over the last century, scientific theory and practical engineering have been combined to produce or adapt a host of similarly useful components that are employed in modern electronics. In this course, Professor Wolfson will introduce: the transformer, a component used to transfer energy between two electrical circuits, which can convert high voltage from an electrical outlet to low voltage that can be used in an electronic device; the transistor, which replaced the bulky vacuum tube, and can be used to both amplify and switch electronic signals; the capacitor, a component which stores energy and electric charge; the diode, a component that allows electric current to flow in one direction only; and the resistor, which restricts the flow of current and lowers voltage levels within electronic circuits. You’ll also learn about the mysterious and highly important physical materials known as semiconductors, so named because their ability to carry electric current is in between a conductor like copper or aluminum and an insulator like glass or paper. Semiconductors are used to make diodes, transistors, and other components. These intriguing materials, like silicon or gallium arsenide, are usually crystalline inorganic solids that can be “doped” with other materials to give engineers precise control over their electrical properties. The Analog LevelWith these basic building bloc

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