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The Torch: The Great Courses Podcast

The Great Courses

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The Great Courses brings engaging professors from the best universities to our learners, creating a "university of the best" with our customers participating in every step of the process. With this podcast hosted by Ed Leon, you’ll meet our fascinati...Show More

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What is Emotional IQ?

14:45 | Jun 27th, 2017

Don’t let your emotions run the show! Learn how to control your emotions and use them to help you achieve your goals with Professor Jason M. Satterfield, Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF. Delve into this fascinating topic and discover how being...Show More

Was the American West as Wild as We Think?

18:29 | Aug 22nd, 2017

Experience the grit and grandeur of an epic period in American history with a story more thrilling than any Hollywood Western. History professor Patrick N. Allitt dispels tall tales by sharing even more fascinating true stories of the American West. ...Show More

Delve Into the Grand Drama of Spanish History

18:04 | Jul 24th, 2017

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. It has historically stood at a critical crossroad of geography, of cultures, of religions, of ideas, of trade, and more. Join a seasoned expert on Spain to examine the dazzling unfol...Show More

Discover Everything You Need to Know About What You Eat and Why You Eat It

20:52 | Jul 24th, 2017

Eating is as old as mankind but we are still learning so much about food, nutrition, and our own bodies. Examine the evolution of the human diet with award-winning professor and anthropologist Alyssa Crittenden. Discover how what’s old is new—the evo...Show More

Get Introduced to the Wonders of Birding

17:12 | May 30th, 2017

Going beyond basic bird identification, birding includes a far-reaching look into matters such as bird behavior, migration, habitats, conservation, and the science behind them. Join James Currie, birding expert, to discover more about this compelling...Show More

Discover the Transformative Power of Anthropology

16:42 | May 30th, 2017

From biology to culture, anthropology strives to gain a comprehensive understanding of humanity’s development from primates to digital citizens. Join acclaimed professor and field researcher Scott M. Lacy to delve into what anthropology has taught us...Show More

The History of Higher Education

26:15 | May 2nd, 2017

When we think of old universities, our minds may go to Cambridge or Oxford, or maybe the University of Bologna. But one of the earliest known universities was established in the Moroccan City of Fez. Join Professorial Lecturer in African Studies at...Show More

Learn the Secrets of the Plants All Around You

18:22 | May 2nd, 2017

Stepping outside, we can’t help but notice the natural world all around us. Discover how to do more than just notice it. Join Dr. Catherine Kleier, a Professor of Biology at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, to dive into the fascinating world of ...Show More

Learn Music Fundamentals with a Master Guitarist

18:31 | Apr 10th, 2017

Colin McAllister, who studied guitar with Celin and Pepe Romero, interpretation with Bertram Turetzky, and conducting with Harvey Sollberger and Rand Steiger, and has connections to some of the most influential musicians in history, helps you learn h...Show More

Experience the Formation of America Through the Eyes of the Founders

30:45 | Apr 10th, 2017

Take a deep dive into the creation of the U.S. Constitution as it actually happened with New York Times best-selling author and professor Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College. He reveals fascinating secrets behind some of the more famous Founding Fa...Show More

Discover the secrets of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

12:55 | Mar 7th, 2017

A million and a half words, 2,500 pages long, and encompassing six volumes, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has made a lasting and consequential contribution to history. Whether you’re familiar with this masterpiece of literat...Show More

Apply the Art of Debate to Your Real Life

17:42 | Mar 7th, 2017

Want to improve the discussions in your organization, in your house, or in your social circles? Join Ed Leon and Jarrod Atchison, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University, to discover how learning the rules and structure of form...Show More

Gain New Insights into the Holy Grail of Science: The Theory of Everything

27:41 | Mar 7th, 2017

Can one single theory explain everything in the universe? Providing a scientific explanation to the big questions of the universe such as “Why are we here?” is a huge undertaking—and one Einstein failed at, but this remains a quest many top scientist...Show More

Separate fact from fiction; reveal facts; and explore fiction with The Torch!

37:57 | Feb 6th, 2017

The truth is out there! Explore misconceptions about how your mind works, uncover overlooked history, and define two-sides of the same literary coin. Join Ed Leon and three esteemed experts on this revealing edition of The Torch where we bust common ...Show More

Travel Deep Into History and Your Own Mind

47:36 | Jan 10th, 2017

How did the great philosophers view the connections between our minds and bodies? How did the ancient civilizations view the skies? How can stress benefit us? How did one singular period of history impact and influence the entire world? Ed Leon, Chie...Show More

Four ways we can impact our world by learning about our history

48:37 | Dec 15th, 2016

Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer, and four renowned experts introduce us to what the new field of Big History can teach us about our future, how history’s greatest investor’s made their fortunes, what mysteries and wisdom are found in the Analects of Con...Show More

The Literature of Mysteries, the Science of History, and Brain Hacks You Can’t Miss.

35:10 | Nov 14th, 2016

Solve the puzzles of great mystery fiction, uncover the depths of what paleontology can tell us about our past, and reveal secrets for outsmarting your own brain in this exceptional edition of The Torch. Join Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer, as he talk...Show More

Explore the Enigmas of History, Philosophy, Photography, and Math.

41:08 | Oct 24th, 2016

We’re revealing the secrets to histories mysteries, modern math, and phenomenal photographs in today’s edition of the Torch. Join Ed Leon as he talks with four esteemed experts to help you learn to crack the codes! One of the world’s foremost expert...Show More

Exercise Your Body and Your Brain With Three Terrific Topics.

31:35 | Sep 26th, 2016

In this episode of The Torch, join The Great Courses Chief Brand Officer, Ed Leon, to explore the philosophies and benefits of tai chi, break down the complex concepts of Chemistry, and discover the incredible science behind decision making. No matt...Show More

Finding Fun in Grammar, Economics, and Machiavelli

34:34 | Aug 23rd, 2016

Discover fascinating, intriguing, and enlightening insights about three rewarding topics—grammar, economics, and Machiavelli. No matter how proficient at grammar you are, you’ll benefit from joining Professor Anne Curzan, a professor of English at ...Show More

The 50th Edition of the Torch: History, Literature, and Lightning!

33:32 | Jul 25th, 2016

This is our 50th episode of The Torch, hosted by Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer for the Great Courses, and our podcast continues to entertain, inform, and provide our audience with more ways to continue their passion for lifelong learning. This miles...Show More

New Views on the Present, the Past, and Future

34:30 | Jun 27th, 2016

Learn the benefits of writing personal essays, examine the Bible as a work of literature, and explore what effects the future will have on your mind in this exceptional episode of The Torch, hosted by Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer for the Great Course...Show More

Change Your Perceptions

32:52 | Jun 1st, 2016

Join host Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer of The Great Courses, to discover insights into what we are communicating before we even open our mouths, examine the fascinating world of a real archaeologist, and separate fact from fiction when it comes to fi...Show More

Change the Way You Think

42:16 | May 2nd, 2016

Join host Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer of The Great Courses, to discover Mayo Clinic’s approach to wellness and healing, examine the rich and complex history of India, and learn how computer programmers think by exploring the language of Python—all i...Show More

Take Your Knowledge to the Next Level

44:31 | Apr 5th, 2016

Improve your ability to win an argument, learn how to keep your kids safe from disease, and discover how a master photographer is creating an award-winning project on endangered animals all in this edition of The Torch! Join host Ed Leon as he chats...Show More

The Facts Behind Apple vs. the FBI

14:40 | Mar 18th, 2016

You may think you know all the details about the current debate over privacy vs. security: Superficially, the FBI and Apple are locking horns about a locked phone that belonged to a suspected terrorist. However, this is a small part of a much bigger ...Show More

Who Will, and Should, Pick the Next Supreme Court Justice?

20:23 | Mar 16th, 2016

With the recent passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the current state of the Supreme Court is surrounded by chaos, confusion, and conflict. A divided government defines the current political environment, and increasing tension surrounding the upcomi...Show More

Thoughtful Topics across the Past, Present, and Future

35:03 | Mar 9th, 2016

Probe three powerful topics ranging from an ancient language to questions and concerns we ponder now, and will continue to think about in this time-traveling edition of The Torch. Join Ed Leon of the Great Courses along with three notable professors ...Show More

The Astonishing Observation of Gravitational Waves

20:06 | Feb 19th, 2016

On its 100th anniversary, Einstein’s prediction about his theory of relativity has been validated. Just this month, two facilities in the U.S. recorded gravitational waves resulting from the merging of two black holes that happened 1.3 billion years ...Show More

Learn The Truth about the Alarming Zika Virus Outbreak

18:38 | Feb 15th, 2016

With reported cases in the U.S. and a travel advisory out from the CDC, there has been a lot of confusion around what the Zika virus is, how it spreads, and who is at risk. Join Ed Leon of The Great Courses and Dr. Barry Fox, Clinical Professor of In...Show More

Fascinating Facets of History

41:31 | Feb 8th, 2016

Spend 30 engrossing minutes exploring two areas of history that provide some enthralling context for the events and characteristics of our modern world. Join Ed Leon of The Great Courses and two renowned professors as they first illuminate pivotal mo...Show More

Facts, Fiction, and the Big Questions

36:44 | Jan 11th, 2016

Ed Leon of The Great Courses and three renowned professors present 30 illuminating minutes with this new edition of The Torch. Join them as they explore the "big questions" of philosophy, shed light on a little-known yet highly influential ancient ci...Show More

Get New Insights into Worlds You Thought You Knew

41:21 | Dec 18th, 2015

Ed Leon of The Great Courses and three renowned professors present 30 mindboggling minutes with this new edition of The Torch. Join them as they strive to define and understand the true nature of information, investigate the cultural context of Jesus...Show More

Opening New Doors

39:16 | Nov 16th, 2015

Ed Leon of The Great Courses and three renowned professors have something for everyone in this edition of The Torch. Join them as they shed light on the engineering marvels we take for granted every day, reveal a history of Eastern Europe that is oft...Show More

Solve a Myriad of Mysteries

49:35 | Oct 27th, 2015

Solving mysteries is the key theme in this information-packed podcast hosted by The Great Courses’ Ed Leon and three expert professors. Learn how doctors solve medical mysteries and save lives in the ER, discover the intricate and profound process th...Show More

The Mistakes of Our Past and the Discoveries That Will Impact Our Future

31:33 | Sep 29th, 2015

What can we learn when we view history through the lens of failure? What does the search for exoplanets tell us about life on other planets and the likelihood of “another Earth?” Host Ed Leon travels across time and space with Dr. Gregory S. Aldrete ...Show More

Pope Francis: The People’s Pope

41:54 | Sep 18th, 2015

The appointment of Pope Francis has signaled a shift in the Catholic Church. From eschewing the traditional papal chambers for a small two-room apartment, to advocating more liberal-leaning views on social issues, his reign has been nothing short of ...Show More

Stimulate Your Mind: Reality, Mythology, and Italy.

37:48 | Aug 21st, 2015

In this episode of The Torch, delve into the factual and the fantastical—and grasp how they aren’t always opposing forces! From astute revelations concerning the evolution and modern-day meanings of the very essence of reality itself to an in-depth e...Show More

Expanding Minds and Horizons

36:13 | Jul 28th, 2015

How can we use math to solve some of the greatest mindbenders of all time? Are our brains hardwired for music? What makes Japan’s extraordinary culture so distinctive? Join Host Ed Leon along with experts from The Great Courses as they explore the w...Show More

Improving Your World

32:16 | Jun 29th, 2015

Why is it so hard to lose weight, stop smoking, or establish healthy habits? How can we become more active participants in the worldwide sustainability revolution? Join Host Ed Leon along with experts from The Great Courses as they explore the ways ...Show More

From the Robotics Revolution to Economic Risk

33:01 | Jun 1st, 2015

Join host Ed Leon as he chats with popular Great Courses professors. In this episode award-winning Robotics expert John Long talks about the robot revolution that is happening all around us. And Professor of Economics and International Monetary Fund...Show More

From Robber Barons to Superconductors

30:28 | May 1st, 2015

Join host Ed Leon as he chats with popular Great Courses professors. In this episode Professor and historian Edward O’Donnell talk about The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era - a time of tremendous change in America including: post civil war recon...Show More

The Real King Arthur and the Secrets of Business Success

38:19 | Apr 7th, 2015

Think King Arthur is a bedtime story? Meet the real King Arthur - a fifth-century Celtic warrior that the legends are based on. Then, gain a strategic advantage by learning two of the fundamental skills you need to know to succeed at business! Join...Show More

From Ancient Civilizations to Arctic Poles

33:13 | Mar 27th, 2015

Join host Ed Leon and popular Great Courses professors for lively discussions including what its like to live on the Arctic peninsula, and the truth about the Mayan Calendar- why the world didn’t end in 2012!

To Kill A Mockingbird’s Amazing Long-Lost Follow-Up Novel

19:58 | Mar 3rd, 2015

Discover the astounding impact that the great literary masterwork To Kill A Mockingbird had on America during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the story behind her long-lost follow-up novel Go Set A Watchman, and the controversy surrounding i...Show More

Who Was the Greatest President: Washington or Lincoln?

38:35 | Feb 12th, 2015

Discover the amazing true story of the creation of the American Presidency, the genius of the Founding Fathers, and why Washington and Lincoln have become mythic figures in our great national saga.

Regional Accents and Ruthless Murders

32:10 | Feb 9th, 2015

Hear intriguing stories behind infamous crimes like the Tylenol murders and the case of Jack the Ripper. Then, see how hundreds of unconscious choices you make in the way you speak affect how others perceive you.

Busting Brain Myths and Bringing Balance through Tai chi

29:20 | Dec 17th, 2014

Learn about tai chi, the ancient practice that brings your body and mind in balance. An award-winning tai chi competitor and instructor explains how tai chi can improve your life in scientifically-proven ways. Then, turn to the newest research in neu...Show More

Magnificent Churches, Cosmic Wonders, and a Lovely Landscape

28:28 | Nov 21st, 2014

Discover why the greatest churches in the world are not necessarily the most grandiose; hear the fascinating story of an amazing ice moon the size of England; and learn what you should be doing this Fall to maintain and improve the landscaping in you...Show More

Modern Parenting, the Age of the Entrepreneur, and our New Smithsonian Course

27:40 | Oct 8th, 2014

Compare the "successful parent" of the 21st century to one just a generation ago; delve into the fascinating world of lean, digital startups; and explore the original "tech revolution" with the professor of our newest Smithsonian course.

ISIS: A Cultural and Historical Perspective

24:58 | Sep 15th, 2014

The militant organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is grabbing front-page headlines and disrupting the global landscape. Learn why ISIS calls itself a caliphate; the source of their wealth and power; and whether their goal of...Show More

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, How Things Go Viral, and the Neuroscience of Mindfulness

27:50 | Sep 11th, 2014

Discover the "perfect storm" of factors that made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so popular; learn how to apply big data to make big waves with your business; and learn why our brains are not hardwired for a sense of well-being.

Touch American History with the Smithsonian & The Great Courses

24:40 | Sep 3rd, 2014

This month marks the inaugural Great Course produced in partnership with the Smithsonian. Join Host Ed Leon as he chats about Experiencing America: A Smithsonian Tour through American History with Professor Richard Kurin, the Under Secretary for His...Show More

Special Edition: The Ebola Outbreak

14:59 | Aug 12th, 2014

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is larger than any other Ebola outbreak in history, having over 1700 confirmed cases and over 950 deaths to date. Join Ed Leon of The Great Courses and Dr. Roy Benaroch as they discuss the outbreak, the transmissi...Show More

Big Data, Big City Life, and a Big Question about Jesus Christ

28:50 | Jul 30th, 2014

Examine the many uses of Big Data: from Netflix to military intelligence; gain insights into the first cities of the ancient world; and consider the most fundamental question about Jesus Christ.

Our 500th Course, the Not-so-Dark Ages, and Trust Mechanisms

29:37 | Jul 1st, 2014

A veteran professor shares stories from his 24 years with The Great Courses; we discover that the Dark Ages was actually a time of great innovations; and we learn the various skills behind successful negotiation.

Family History, Philosophical Politics, and Joyful Math

28:45 | Jun 3rd, 2014

Gain a personal connection to world history through genealogy, reconnect with the joy of mathematics, and scratch the surface of politics to reveal the philosophy beneath.

A Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter You

31:50 | May 13th, 2014

Get an inside view how doctors think and how it can help you become a better patient; revisit battles that could have sent history in an entirely different direction; and gain the confidence to invest in the stock market.

Explore the World with The Great Courses

24:07 | Apr 9th, 2014

Experience European cities that are frozen in time; schedule your vacation activities to capture the best photos; and gain insight on the latest discovery about the moment just after the Big Bang.

Four Thermodynamic Laws, Four-Year-Olds, and Our 24th Anniversary

26:32 | Mar 19th, 2014

Take a romp from the four laws of thermodynamics to an appropriate parenting style for your four-year-old to the twenty-four year history of The Great Courses!

Special Edition: The Crisis in Ukraine

16:56 | Mar 13th, 2014

Today, we have a surprise for you: a free special edition podcast! Host Ed Leon talks about the crisis in Ukraine with Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius. Does this current crisis bear historical resemblance to earlier European foreign policy emergencies? In ...Show More

Essential Science, Sacred Texts of the World, and Customer Stories

26:56 | Feb 11th, 2014

Ignorance is the fuel for science. Yearning is the fuel for the writers of sacred texts. And your passion for learning is our reason for being!

Barbarians of the Steppes, The Birth and Death of Stars, and Successful Individual Investing

31:37 | Jan 20th, 2014

Experience the fascinating world of Genghis Khan and the barbarians of the Steppes; learn the secrets of successful individual investors; and follow a star from stellar nursery to supernova explosion.

Learning Creativity, The Origin and Future of Earth, and Ancient Engineering

29:03 | Dec 11th, 2013

Discover the secrets to unlocking creativity, even if you don’t consider yourself creative; learn how geology factors into the evolution of life on Earth; and explore the genius inventions of the engineers of ancient Greece and Rome.

Linguistic Oddities, Yoga and Aging, Cultural Intelligence

33:54 | Nov 11th, 2013

Learn the unexpected origins of the term "baby mama"; uncover the secrets to staying fit and healthy as you age; and hear real-world advice for navigating cultures and customs from around the world. Join host Ed Leon as he explores these and other fa...Show More

Classical Superstars, The Piano, and Robert Greenberg

31:30 | Oct 7th, 2013

Join host Ed Leon as Robert Greenberg, prolific composer, music scholar, and impresario of The Great Courses, explores the history of piano music and composers Beethoven and Mozart.

Christian Controversies, Storytelling, and Professor Appreciation Month

29:04 | Sep 16th, 2013

Did Jesus have a twin brother? How can you turn a personal experience into a compelling and powerful piece of storytelling? Has society ever truly learned the lessons of the costs of war? Join host Ed Leon as he explores these and other fascinating i...Show More

Culinary History, Battling Cancer, and Music and Math

30:33 | Aug 7th, 2013

Experience the lavish excess of a Renaissance feast; learn which tests accurately detect early stages of cancer...and the ones that do not; and understand how your music player transforms digital ones and zeros into the music you love with the underl...Show More

Cyber Security, Gardening, and Mental Math

31:32 | Jun 4th, 2013

Dive into the high-stakes cyber battles being played out as countries, cyber criminals, and hackers seek control of the digital frontier. Increase your home's curb appeal and get ready for barbeques with this step-by-step guide to gardening. And keep...Show More

Photography, Space, Color, and Wine

29:04 | Mar 26th, 2013

Meteors hitting the earth? A National Geographic photographer who puts it all on the line for his art? How do colors affect your brain or your wine choices? Who better to give some guidance than the expert professors from The Great Courses! In this e...Show More