The Mechanical Universe and Beyond the Mechanical Universe 1 are the two semesters of an introductory college-level physics course presented by means of television. As I discuss later, it is intended for a wide variety of audiences, but its central target audience is the high school physics teacher. The reason can be seen from the following starkly simple argument: There are about 25,000 high schools in the United States. The number of fully qualified high school physics teach ers—those with the equivalent of an undergraduate major in the subject—is not known with precision, but all authorities seem to agree that it is fewer than 2,000, not even 1 for every 10 high schools. It follows that the majority of American students pass through high school without encountering a competently taught physics course and arrive at college having already foreclosed the possibility of majoring in physics in order to become part of the next generation of teachers. Thus the problem is not only critical, it is also self-perpetuating. There are, to be sure, other problems associated with physics education in America, but reversing this situation must be the first order of business in any serious attempt to improve matters. That is the central mission of The Mechanical Universe project. The medium chosen to accomplish this purpose is, perhaps, the only one that has any real chance to do so: the use of network quality television with all its built-in appeal and existing technical infrastructure.