Department of Astronomy Center for Radiophysics & Space Research

ASTR 1105: The Universe - Discussion

Credit Hours3
Cross-listed with

ASTRO 1107

Prerequisites

Recommended: high school physics.

Students may not receive credit for both ASTRO 1105 and 1107.

Typically OfferedSummer

Instructor: David Kornreich

When civilization was young, Seneca wrote, "A single lifetime, even entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. Our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them." We will work to understand what he and the ancients knew about the night sky, and the ingenious methods by which they came to know it, and trace the history of astronomy through the modern day. Indeed, modern astronomy abounds with strange alien worlds and exotic events that would have amazed that great classical thinker: Stars and the tantalizing planets that journey with them through the galaxies, which smash into one another over millions of years. And when they die in great explosions, stars create exotic pulsars, black holes, nebulae, and people. And somehow all of this started at the single moment of the Big Bang. What will be so plain to our descendants that would amaze us today? Will they have contacted alien intelligence? Traveled in time? Learned the fate of the universe?