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Professor at Duke University

Professor at Duke University >

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The Origins of King Arthur
Episode 1 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
First, consider images of the Arthurian legend familiar in Western culture, and their relationship to historical reality. Trace the history of post-Roman Britain, the large-scale invasions of the Anglo-Saxons, and evidence that a single, extraordinary individual rose from the chaos…
The Arrival of Robot Autonomy
Episode 1 of Robotics Series
Plunge into the world of robots with this engaging introduction. When did we start thinking about robots? What three components are responsible for so many advances in robot design? Why is behavioral autonomy so essential to the development of modern…
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Episode 13 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Delve into the fascinating narrative of this highly sophisticated poem, following the great Sir Gawain through elaborate plot twists on his quest to fulfill an astonishing challenge. Investigate the meaning of his journey, and consider the important questions it raises…
Self-Driving Vehicles
Episode 14 of Robotics Series
Lane changes, off-roading, irregular traffic patterns--how do robotic cars handle it all? Find out in this lecture on the trade-offs (especially between speed and safety) involved in creating self-driving vehicles. Peer into the future of how you're likely to get…
Moral Hazard: Whom Do You Trust?
Episode 11 of The Economics of Uncertainty Series
Examine another outcome of asymmetric information: the moral hazard problem. This peril arose spectacularly in the 2008 financial crisis, with the widespread sale of bad loans to unwitting investors. But it also lurks in many small-scale transactions. Discover what you…
An Arthur-Like Figure in Cornwall
Episode 2 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Investigate archaeological and historical evidence that support the existence of an Arthur-like figure in early Britain. Learn about the site of Cadbury Castle, the center of operations of a leader of great military and logistical skill who thwarted the Saxon…
Enriching the Legend—Tristan and Isolde
Episode 16 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
The Celtic legend of Tristan and Isolde was assimilated as a key element of the Arthurian tradition. Study the narrative of the Tristan story as it emerged in two distinct literary traditions, and grasp how the story's appeal led to…
King Arthur in Wales—The Mabinogion
Episode 4 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Grasp how Arthur became a cultural touchstone early in Welsh history. In texts such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and the Triads of the Island of Britain, uncover key references to the Arthurian saga. In the tales of the…
Adverse Selection: Hiding in Plain Sight
Episode 10 of The Economics of Uncertainty Series
Adverse selection occurs when the lack of information by one party leads to a distorted result. See how this situation surfaces in many different contexts, from used car sales to investment deals to Internet purchases. Learn to recognize the adverse…
The Holy Grail from Chrétien to Dan Brown
Episode 17 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
No physical object in the Arthurian canon carries more symbolic weight than the Holy Grail. Discover the origins and varied manifestations of the Grail, explore the most celebrated of the literary Grail narratives, and investigate why the Grail has fired…
Arthuriana in Medieval Art
Episode 18 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Uncover rich depictions of Arthurian scenes in cathedrals and churches across Western Europe, as well as in privately commissioned artworks, and grasp why such scenes proliferated in religious settings. Learn also how a massive table, once believed to be the…
King Arthur in the Latin Chronicles
Episode 3 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Now explore some of the most significant early witnesses to the Arthurian legend. In Latin texts by the chroniclers Gildas (6th century) and Nennius (9th century) and in the Welsh Annales Cambriae, study accounts of Arthur's exploits and death in…
Arthurian Tales in Brittany and Burgundy
Episode 8 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Here, encounter the works of Marie de France, whose Arthurian writings developed themes of romantic love, the magical, and the noble. Then learn how Robert de Boron linked King Arthur to the spiritual and religious realms and introduced the Holy…
Once and Future—The 20th-Century Arthur
Episode 22 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Among significant 20th-century treatments of the saga, begin with T.H. White's The Once and Future King and its ruminations on kingship, power, and governance. Also explore Mary Stewart's highly original Merlin Trilogy, Marion Zimmer Bradley's feminist The Mists of Avalon,…
Idylls of the King—The Victorian Arthur
Episode 20 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
The 19th century witnessed an explosion of interest in the legend. Learn about the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose Idylls of the King inaugurated a new era of Arthurian writing and scholarship. Discover the extraordinary Arthurian works of the…
Monmouth, Merlin, and Courtly Love
Episode 5 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain is arguably the most important literary artifact of the Arthurian tradition. Learn about the political nature of the text, the important elements and characters that Geoffrey wove into it, and how…
The Futures of Robotics
Episode 24 of Robotics Series
Because it's a multidisciplinary field, there isn't just one future for robotics, but instead multiple futures. What could some of them look like? Consider everything from companion robots that can coordinate our activities to surgical robots that can work autonomously…
Basic Skills for Making Robots
Episode 8 of Robotics Series
So you want to make a robot. Where should you start? Learn how to work with tools like multimeters and solid-core wires; how to perform basic tasks including stripping wire and building simple circuits; and how to "hack" into existing…
Camelot Comes to Hollywood
Episode 23 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
From the wealth of Arthurian cinema, investigate major film portrayals of the legend from recent decades. In particular, learn about the brilliant satire of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the weighty symbolism of John Boorman's Excalibur, the modern-day Grail…
Wagner and Twain—King Arthur in the Late 1800s
Episode 21 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
In his two overtly Arthurian operas, observe how Richard Wagner adapted and modified the Arthurian legend to dramatize social and religious ideals, linking these ideals with Germany itself. On our own shores, grasp how Mark Twain satirized the saga in…