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ASTR 330
The Nature of the Universe Spring 2021
Division III

Class Details

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, galaxies and quasars, dark matter, and the 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: Format: lecture; This is a remote course. Synchronous lectures and break-out discussions will take place during the scheduled class time. These lectures may be recorded for the benefit of students in substantially different time zones; these students will then schedule a separate small-group discussion time in consultation with the professor. Remote observing sessions will occur throughout the semester.
Limit: 48
Expected: 25
Class#: 4716
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two midterm exams, a small observing portfolio, occasional quizzes, and a final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: 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; preference given to seniors
Unit Notes: non-major course; course in the 33X sequence are meant as general education courses for students in all majors
Distributions: Division III

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