Honors | Cosmic Origins and Dark Matters (HON)
H205 | 29854 | Caty Pilachowski
THIS CLASS ALSO INCLUDES THREE, 3-HOUR TELESCOPE AND OBSERVING
LAB/FIELD SESSIONS; DATES AND MEETING TIMES WILL BE ARRANGED IN
CONSULTATION WITH THE STUDENTS.
THIS CLASS MEETS SECOND EIGHT WEEKS ONLY.
Our Universe, dominated by strange forms of dark matter and energy,
is more bizarre than astronomers imagined only two decades ago.
Structure in the early Universe began as minute variations in
density from place to place when the Universe was very young, no
more than 400,000 years after the Big Bang. Over time, gravity
pulled this nascent structure into the huge web of galaxies and
empty space that characterizes our modern Universe. Now, that same
strange, dark energy is beginning to pull our Universe apart into a
future that is unimaginably vast and empty.
We will explore the origins of our Universe and its structure and
contents, as well as the role that dark matter and dark energy play
in shaping the Universe we live in today. Topics include the Big
Bang, the beginning of structure, the formation of galaxies, stars,
and planets, and even the origins of the elements themselves.
The course will emphasize observations and concepts over a
mathematical approach, but simple mathematical manipulations at the
level of high school algebra, geometry, and/or pre-calculus will be
required. Three, 3-hour telescope observing and laboratory sessions
will also be required as part of the course.