Astrophysics (Physics 269)
Topics Covered Include: Star formation & the interstellar medium; black holes & general relativity; degenerate remnants (fates) of stars; celestial mechanics; interaction of light & matter. Prior requirements: Physics 110 (Mechanics) or equivalent required; Physics 120 (E&M) or equivalent at least concurrent
Birth of the Universe (CSP 14)
Our understanding of our place in the universe is as dynamic as the universe itself. Cosmology, the history of the origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the universe is full of instances where a widely accepted belief was shown to be most likely false. Our current cosmological theories are further riddled with many issues that are not yet fully understood. In this course, we will read popular texts by such authors as Carl Sagan, Alan Lightman, and Priyamvada Natarajan to learn what we know about some recent burning cosmological questions: Why do scientists support the Big Bang Theory? What are dark matter and dark energy? What does the future hold for our universe? In our discussions we will focus on how these scientific ideas are developed, tested and eventually accepted (or rejected). This writing-based course will emphasize group work, including personal feedback from your peers, and in-class discussions. No prior knowledge of mathematics or astronomy is required.