Cosmology 101: Major Issues
Cosmology asks the big questions of astronomy. Out of what did the universe arise, when, how? What is the present state of the universe and what will it be like in the far distant future? How are time, space, and gravity linked? What are the leading mysteries of astronomy today?
A sequel, “Cosmology 102: Advanced Issues”, starts June 30 for which this “101” material is foundational. Details in early June.
April 28: Special Relativity (SR)
Einstein. Ordinary and relativistic velocities. Implications, equations, confirmations, and applications of SR. Spacetime, spacetime intervals.
May 5: General Relativity (GR)
Gravity: Newton vs. Einstein. Implications, equations, confirmations, and applications of GR. Gravitational lensing, gravitational waves. 50+ G-wave detections so far. A new tool and research window. Newest NANOGrav research and future LISA plans.
May 12: The Big Bang Theory
1930-1950’s debate: Steady State vs. Big Bang debate. Lamaitre instructs Einstein. Hubble’s discoveries and Law, v = H0 x d. Universe’s expansion rate and age. Evidence for and advances in the Big Bang model including Cosmic Background Radiation and WMAP breakthroughs. Einstein’s “big mistake”.
May 26: Redshift (z) Issues
Waves, spectra, Doppler effect, redshift values, z. Velocity from z both without and with relativity. Look back time and present distances. Estimate of universe’s radius, which doubles every 10 billion years.
June 2: Cosmic Mysteries Today
Dark matter, dark energy, black holes. Evidence for and theories about. Latest mass-energy percentages.
June 9: Enduring Mysteries
Olber’s paradox. Alien life and the Drake equation. Finding exoplanets. Why does the world exist? E=mc2 works both ways. Nucleosynthesis of the elements, ultimate forces and structure of matter. Multiverses?
Location: Classes will be online using Zoom. Sign-in with an ID code given to you the weekend before the first day of class. Class recordings available during the course and for 4 weeks after.
Time: 7-9 PM, Wednesdays
Cost: $60, AAA Members only. Not a Member? Join for $35.
Instructor: David Kiefer holds various Masters degrees, including a M.S. in astronomy from the Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in Melbourne, Australia. He has taught physics and astronomy at colleges in New York and New Jersey, and is presently a lecturer at Brooklyn College. A member of the AAA, Mr. Kiefer observes at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and at upstate sites. He also teaches AAA Classes and is in the Class Coordination Committee.