This course is a journey through space and time from the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang to the ultimate fate of the Universe billions of years into the future. Topics include the Big Bang and its remnant cosmic background radiation, cosmic inflation, conditions during the first three minutes, creation of the elements, stellar and galactic black holes, relativity, the detection of gravitational waves from the merging of two massive stellar black holes more than a billion light-years away, galaxies and quasars, and formation of the large-scale structure of the Universe. We will explore current ideas about the fate of our Universe, including the acceleration of its expansion, and its implications for the end of time. Finally, we will consider the fantastic but serious theoretical proposal that ours is but one of countless universes existing within a multiverse.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion, three hours per week
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on two hour tests, a small observing portfolio, occasional quizzes, and a final exam
Extra Info: not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none; open only to juniors and seniors; closed to students who have taken or are taking ASTR 104, and closed to ASTR, ASPH, and PHYS majors
Department Notes: non-major course; course in the 33X sequence are meant as general education courses for students in all majors
Distributions: Division III;