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The Joy of Science Review by Stephanie D. Scarborough

The Teaching Company
4151 Lafayette Center Drive, Suite 100
Chantilly, VA 20151-1232
1-800-TEACH-12 (1-800-832-2412)

The Joy of Science is one of over 200 courses presented by The Teaching Company. They have products in the areas of literature, philosophy, history, fine arts, the sciences, economics, and religion.

The professor for The Joy of Science, Robert M. Hazen of George Mason University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, is also a well-renowned author. He truly has an impressive resume of training, discovery, and teaching.

The Joy of Science is presented in five parts. Each part includes two DVDs, with 12 lectures/30 minutes per lecture, and a course guidebook. These guidebooks contain the lecture number and title with a statement of the principle, the scope, an outline, essential readings, supplemental readings, and questions to consider. This helps to break down the lectures into consumable bites. Lecture transcripts are also available. All items are designed to help the learners succeed in the "adventure of learning."

The scope of The Joy of Science is all-encompassing.

Course Lecture Titles
The Nature of Science Edwin Hubble and the Discovery of Galaxies
The Scientific Method The Big Bang
The Ordered Universe The Ultimate Structure of Matter
Celestial and Terrestrial Mechanics The Nebular Hypothesis
Newton's Laws of Motion The Solar System
Universal Gravitation The Earth as a Planet
The Nature of Energy The Dynamic Earth
The First Law of Thermodynamics The Plate Tectonics Revolution
The Second Law of Thermodynamics Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Plate Motions Today
Entropy Earth Cycles-Water
Magnetism and Static Electricity The Atmospheric Cycle
Electricity The Rock Cycle
Electromagnetism What Is Life?
The Electromagnetic Spectrum, Part I Strategies of Life
The Electromagnetic Spectrum, Part II Life's Molecular Building Blocks
Relativity Proteins
Atoms Cells-The Chemical Factories of Life
The Bohr Atom Gregor Mendel, Founder of Genetics
The Quantum World The Discovery of DNA
The Periodic Table of the Elements The Genetic Code
Introduction to Chemistry Reading the Genetic Code
The Chemistry of Carbon Genetic Engineering
States of Matter and Changes of State Cancer and Other Genetic Diseases
Phase Transformations and Chemical Reactions The Chemical Evolution of Life
Properties of Materials Biological Evolution-A Unifying Theme of Biology
Semiconductors and Modern Microelectronics The Fact of Evolution-The Fossil Record
Isotopes and Radioactivity Charles Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection
Nuclear Fission and Fusion Reactions Ecosystems and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Astronomy The Ozone Hole, Acid Rain, and the Greenhouse Effect
The Life Cycle of Stars Science, the Endless Frontier

The Joy of Science approaches science from an interdisciplinary method. Rather than fragmenting science, it takes a more natural, integrated style. Each scientific area is dependent on other branches of science, making this approach refreshing and real.

These DVDs are of professional grade with regard to sound and visual quality. One slight annoyance comes from the professor's tendency not to look at the camera. He appears to be looking closely at a teleprompter or something else in the room.

Fortunately for copious note takers such as myself, definitions and names appear as captions, thus increasing information intake for visual learners. However, you do not have to write everything down since it closely aligns with the lecture transcripts. The slight differences come from the fact that the lecture notes are based on the audio presentation of this course rather than the video presentation.

Despite the many strengths of this program, one serious weakness is the presentation of evolution theories as scientific fact. The attack on religious faith and the belief in God's creation account according to Genesis is of great concern. While this review is not the place to debate such beliefs, a purchaser needs to be aware of this professor's disregard for scientific creationism and Biblical accounts.

At first, I thought it would be possible to skip the few sections that are devoted to evolution theories. However, one reason this would be difficult is that numerous scientific facts are interpreted through the porthole of evolutionary theory, and these are interlaced throughout the program. If you do choose to use this program, probably the best approach is for you, the learner, to be fully aware of the scientific creationism approach, which manages the scientific facts in light of Scripture.

Product review by Stephanie D. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2006