HC 441: Cosmology

Spring Quarter 2015

Prof. James Schombert
Office: 461 Willamette, 6-5214
Office Hours: 10-11am MWF
email: jschombe@uoregon.edu


Course Content:

Cosmology, the study of the formation and evolution of the Universe, has progressed from its origins in early man's ideas of Nature, to Chinese and Greek worldviews, to Dante's vision of Heaven and Hell, to Newton's Clockwork Universe. Today, cosmology has entered a Golden Age with the launch of numerous space telescopes and development of technology that allows us to study the echo of the Big Bang. In addition to exploring the processes behind the origin of spacetime and matter, the science of cosmology has also expanded to resolve a number of philosophical and theological issues, such as Creation (i.e. Genesis 1:1) and the anthropic principle.

This course is a historical and philosophical review of our cosmological worldview from mythical times to modern science. We will explore topics in the geometry of the Universe, expanding spacetime and the Big Bang, dark matter, black holes and wormholes, quarks and mesons, galaxies and quantum physics. Our goal is to provide the student with a summary of our current understanding of astrophysics as it relates to the structure of the Universe and what topics remain to be explored in the 21st century. The material is presented without complex mathematics, but an understanding of algebra is required.


Course Organization:

All lectures in this course will be delivered electronically. The lecture pages will be on the Web in HTML (hypertext mark-up language) format so that they are accessible from any computer, either at home or on campus. The address for this course is abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/cosmo.

All the readings necessary for the course are listed in the web pages. Feel free to drop by my office at anytime my schedule shows I'm around. Most times email is a faster way to get ahold of me. Make sure your mail has a non-implicit destination, one recipient, a non-empty subject field, and does not contain any html code and is 100% 7bit clean pure ASCII.


Accommodations:

If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please see me as soon as possible. And please request that the Counselor for Students with Disabilities (H. Gerdes, hgerdes@oregon) send a letter verifying your disability.