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Professor Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.

Professor Alex Filippenko
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
Perhaps the next time you go out to the countryside, you will ponder the magnificence of the Universe and its contents—and the fact that, through careful experiments, observations, and thought, humans are coming to a good understanding of what makes it all tick.

Dr. Alex Filippenko is Professor of Astronomy and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his B.A. in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Filippenko's research accomplishments, documented in more than 500 scientific publications and 600 abstracts and astronomical circulars, are among the most highly cited in the world. Science magazine credited two international teams of astronomers (on which he was the only coauthor contributing to both teams) with the top "Science Breakthrough of 1998" for research on exploding stars (supernovae), which shows that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, propelled by mysterious "dark energy." Professor Filippenko received a share of the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize for this discovery, work that went on to receive the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Professor Filippenko also leads the world's most successful robotic search for exploding stars.

Dr. Filippenko was elected in 2009 to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors accorded to a U.S. scientist. He has also been recognized with several major awards, including the 2010 Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the 2007 Richtmyer Memorial Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the 1997 Robert M. Petrie Prize of the Canadian Astronomical Society, and the 1992 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001 and a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 2002.

In 2006, he was honored nationally as the "Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

At UC Berkeley, Dr. Filippenko's teaching awards include the Donald S. Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Physical Sciences and the Distinguished Teaching Award. He was also voted the Best Professor on Campus nine times in student polls.

Dr. Filippenko is coauthor of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, now in its 4th edition (2013), and winner of the 2001 Texty Excellence Award for best new textbook in the physical sciences. He has played a prominent role in numerous television documentaries, including about 40 episodes spanning six seasons of The Universe on The History Channel.

Testimonials

"Alex Filippenko sets the standard of what great teaching is all about. May we all be willing to learn with the same level of enthusiasm he shows us in these lectures."

 

"Professor Filippenko is a master of this information, and his enthusiasm is contagious! Highly recommended!!"

 

"Professor Alex Filippenko delivers the lectures with passion, honesty and he uses helpful visual aids in understanding complex theories. By the end of the course, he is a close friend."

40 Courses and Sets

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40 Courses and Sets

  1. Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Alex Filippenko
    Starting at $679.95 Starting at $679.95 $799.95 $679.95$799.95
    In 96 richly illustrated half-hour lectures you will survey the main concepts, methods, and discoveries in astronomy—from the constellations drawn by the ancients, to the latest reports from planetary probes in our Solar System and the most recent images offered by telescopes probing the farthest frontiers of space and time. While updating this course, Professor Alex Filippenko added hundreds of images,...
  2. Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders

    Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders

    Alex Filippenko
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $219.95 $199.95$219.95
    Get an unparalleled visual guide to nature's most mysterious and beautiful offerings with Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders. With these twelve 45-minute lectures, award-winning astronomer and Professor Alex Filippenko has crafted a visually stunning tour of the sky's most dazzling displays, including clouds, sunsets, stars, planets, meteors, and solar eclipses. One of our most intensively...
  3. Black Holes Explained

    Black Holes Explained

    Alex Filippenko
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $199.95 $199.95$199.95
    Nearly everyone has heard of black holes, but few people outside of complex scientific fields understand their true nature and their implications for our universe. Black Holes Explained finally makes this awe-inspiring cosmological subject graspable—in just 12 lavishly illustrated lectures. You'll discover the secrets of photon spheres, event horizons, Einstein rings, and other concepts involved in the study...
  4. (Set) Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $849.90 Starting at $849.90 $999.90 $849.90$999.90
    Get closer than ever before to some of the most awe-inspiring images and concepts in our universe with this richly illustrated two-course set. First, in Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe, get an overview of some of the greatest sights captured by this iconic space telescope. Then, in Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition, survey the main concepts,...
  5. (Set)  Physics and Our Universe & Black Holes Explained Set

    (Set) Physics and Our Universe & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $824.90 Starting at $824.90 $824.90 $824.90$824.90
  6. (Set) Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition; Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe & Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality  Set

    (Set) Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition; Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe & Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,429.85 Starting at $1,429.85 $1,429.85 $1,429.85$1,429.85
    Solve countless scientific mysteries about the origin, evolution, composition, and probable fate of our universe. In Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe, discover how this fascinating field has helped us understand dark matter, cosmic inflation, the birth of galaxies, and more. Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality explores the search for the ultimate nature of physical reality in a manner that can be...
  7. Biology; Einstein's Relativity Set

    Biology; Einstein's Relativity

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $3,384.65 Starting at $3,384.65 $3,384.65 $3,384.65$3,384.65
    Rediscover the intellectual joy and wonder that lies at the heart of science with this comprehensive seven-course set. You'll never look at a blade of grass or a star in the sky in the same way again. In Joy of Science, get a clear overview of the key principles underneath all of modern science. In Great Ideas of Classical Physics, journey step by step through the landmark concepts that help us make sense of the...
  8. (Set) Four Great Courses, One Amazingly Low Price!!! Set

    (Set) Four Great Courses, One Amazingly Low Price!!!

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $799.80 Starting at $799.80 $799.80 $799.80$799.80
    Not sure which Great Course you want to order? Then order them all! For a limited time only, you can get The Secrets of Mental Math; Black Holes Explained; Origins of Great Ancient Civilization; and Thinking Like an Economist in a single four-course set for one amazingly low price! This special offer is the perfect way to sample some of the fascinating subjects, engaging professors, and profound insights you can...
  9. (Set) Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition & Meteorology  Set

    (Set) Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition & Meteorology

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $894.90 Starting at $894.90 $1,054.90 $894.90$1,054.90
    Open your eyes to the many wonders of the stars above your head and the weather all around you with these two dynamic courses. Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition allows you to experience a full-year introductory college course on astronomy, delivered by a leading participant in some of the field's groundbreaking discoveries. And Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the...
  10. (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe  Set

    (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $369.90 Starting at $369.90 $419.90 $369.90$419.90
    Get an unparalleled view of the sky above your head as well as deep space with this visually rich set. In Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders, get a stunning tour of the sky's most dazzling displays, most of which you can see without binoculars. And in Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe, partake in a visual feast of landmark images taken by the Hubble Space...
  11. (Set) Black Holes Explained & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Black Holes Explained & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Alex Filippenko
    Starting at $999.90 Starting at $999.90 $999.90 $999.90$999.90
  12. (Set) How the Earth Works & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) How the Earth Works & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,119.90 Starting at $1,119.90 $1,319.90 $1,119.90$1,319.90
    Explore countless mysteries about the ground beneath your feet and the stars above your head in these two intriguing science courses. In How the Earth Works, journey through the amazing processes involved in our planet's daily life, from the rock cycle to the structure of the ocean seafloor. Then, investigate the wonders of astronomy in Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy—96 comprehensive...
  13. (Set) Complete Guide to the Universe  Set

    (Set) Complete Guide to the Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $2,484.60 Starting at $2,484.60 $2,484.60 $2,484.60$2,484.60
    Trying to envision the universe is a daunting process. Let these eight courses paint the picture of our cosmos for you, as you explore the science, history, and nature of space. From the known, in Our Night Sky, to the unknown in Black Holes, to the theorized in Dark Matter, plus five more fascinating topics, this extensive set leaves no topic uncovered and no question unanswered.
  14. (Set) Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe & Black Holes Explained  Set

    (Set) Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $399.90 $399.90$399.90
    Explore new and fascinating knowledge about the universe and one of its most intriguing components, black holes, in this lavishly illustrated course set. In Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe, partake in a visual feast of landmark images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and, in turn, learn the fundamental concepts and recent breakthroughs it has revealed in our understanding...
  15. (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Our Night Sky  Set

    (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Our Night Sky

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $369.90 Starting at $369.90 $419.90 $369.90$419.90
    Open your eyes to the countless wonders lying just above your head with this richly illustrated two-course set on what to look for in the sky at all times of the day and night. First, embark on a stunning tour of dazzling displays such as clouds, sunsets, meteors, and solar eclipses with Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders. Then, discover everything you ever needed to know about the science,...
  16. (Set) Black Holes Explained & New Frontiers: Modern Perspectives on Our Solar System  Set

    (Set) Black Holes Explained & New Frontiers: Modern Perspectives on Our Solar System

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $454.90 Starting at $454.90 $454.90 $454.90$454.90
    Travel to distant regions of the universe on a richly illustrated exploration of some of its most intriguing features and phenomena. In Black Holes Explained, learn the secrets of photon spheres, event horizons, Einstein rings, and other concepts involved in the study of black holes. And in New Frontiers: Modern Perspectives on Our Solar System, investigate what we know about the solar system today, thanks to the...
  17. (Set)  Physics and Our Universe & Understanding the Universe Set

    (Set) Physics and Our Universe & Understanding the Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,209.90 Starting at $1,209.90 $1,424.90 $1,209.90$1,424.90
  18. (Set) The Stargazer's Toolkit  Set

    (Set) The Stargazer's Toolkit

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $709.80 Starting at $709.80 $819.80 $709.80$819.80
    Get an unparalleled view of the sky above your head as well as deep space with this visually rich four-course set. Our Night Sky shows you how to view cosmic marvels equipped only with your own eyes, binoculars, and a small telescope. Get a visually stunning tour of the sky's most dazzling displays, most of which you can see without binoculars, in Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders. In Experiencing...
  19. (Set) Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time & Black Holes Explained   Set

    (Set) Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $454.90 Starting at $454.90 $454.90 $454.90$454.90
  20. (Set)  Skywatching & My Favorite Universe Set

    (Set) Skywatching & My Favorite Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $369.90 Starting at $369.90 $419.90 $369.90$419.90
  21. (Set) Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe & Black Holes Explained  Set

    (Set) Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $454.90 Starting at $454.90 $454.90 $454.90$454.90
    Explore two of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of the cosmos with this two-course set. Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe takes you deep inside the invisible components of dark matter and dark energy—concepts that have brought us to the brink of knowing what the universe is made of. Black Holes Explained finally makes this awe-inspiring cosmological subject graspable through an...
  22. (Set) How the Earth Works; Biology: The Science of Life; & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) How the Earth Works; Biology: The Science of Life; & Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,719.85 Starting at $1,719.85 $2,019.85 $1,719.85$2,019.85
  23. (Set) History of the Bible, Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations, Black Holes Explained, & The Louvre  Set

    (Set) History of the Bible, Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations, Black Holes Explained, & The Louvre

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $799.80 Starting at $799.80 $799.80 $799.80$799.80
    Broaden your intellectual horizons in everything from ancient history to cosmology with this dynamic four-course set. Get compelling answers to provocative questions about the development of the New Testament in The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon. Unearth profound secrets about ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and other fascinating cultures in Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations. Get up...
  24. (Set) Life in Our Universe & Black Holes Explained  Set

    (Set) Life in Our Universe & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $454.90 Starting at $454.90 $454.90 $454.90$454.90
  25. (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Black Holes Explained  Set

    (Set) Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders & Black Holes Explained

    Alex Filippenko
    Starting at $419.90 Starting at $419.90 $419.90 $419.90$419.90
    Join award-winning astronomer and Professor Alex Filippenko for a journey into space in this two-course set. Get an unparalleled visual guide to nature's most mysterious and beautiful offerings with Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders. And, in Black Holes Explained discover the secrets of photon spheres, event horizons, Einstein rings, and other concepts involved in the study of black holes.
  26. (Set) Cosmology & Understanding the Universe, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Cosmology & Understanding the Universe, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $999.90 Starting at $999.90 $1,174.90 $999.90$1,174.90
    Investigate the wealth of wonders in two scientific fields that have provided us with startling new ideas about our universe. With the aid of more than 1,000 vivid illustrations, Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe reveals the latest insights behind mysteries including dark matter, cosmic inflation, and the birth of galaxies. Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition is an...
  27. (Set) Black Holes Explained & Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality  Set

    (Set) Black Holes Explained & Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $454.90 Starting at $454.90 $454.90 $454.90$454.90
    Black holes and string theory—two mind-boggling scientific concepts that are finally made clear with this two-course set. In Black Holes Explained, you'll discover the secrets of photon spheres, event horizons, Einstein rings, and other concepts involved in the study of black holes. And in Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality, you'll look over the shoulder of a prominent theorist at work—one who has a...
  28. (Set) The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries & Black Holes Explained  Set

    (Set) The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries & Black Holes Explained

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $299.90 Starting at $299.90 $299.90 $299.90$299.90
  29. (Set)  Uncover the Mystries of the Universe Set

    (Set) Uncover the Mystries of the Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $2,849.55 Starting at $2,849.55 $2,849.55 $2,849.55$2,849.55
    It’s not likely you’ll be able to solve all the mysteries of life in one course, even if it is a Great Course. Nine courses, on the other hand, may take you pretty close. Encompassing Physics, the Microscopic World, Matter, Chaos, Cosmology, Complexity, Black Holes, and the Origins of Life, this wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive set will deliver answers to some of life’s biggest and most urgent...
  30. (Set) The Life and Death of Stars & My Favorite Universe  Set

    (Set) The Life and Death of Stars & My Favorite Universe

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $469.90 Starting at $469.90 $469.90 $469.90$469.90
    Take a close look at the central topic of stars in astronomy, including their role in the creation of black holes, in this fascinating course set by two stellar astrophysicists. First, in Professor Keivan G. Stassun’s The Life and Death of Stars, grasp the essential nature of these phenomena and, in the process, learn the essential concepts of astrophysics, including the origin and likely fate of the...