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Syllabus Kolb(1)

MLAP 33200
Winter 2018
Models of the Universe
Rocky Kolb
Graham School
Master of Liberal Arts
Saturdays 9:30 – 12:30pm
Gleacher Center
The Solar System Reading: Kolb, Blind Watchers of the Sky
January 6:
Introduction to models, theories, and laws. Introduction to cosmology,
introduction to the universe, and a look at the sky. Greek astronomy
through Ptolemy. Retrograde motion, epicycles, the Greek universe.
Prelude to Copernicus.
January 13: Copernicus: The heliocentric universe. Kepler: The laws of planetary
motion. The black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
January 20: Adaptive optics. The dynamic sun. Galileo and his science. Telescopes,
ancient & modern. Sidereus Nuncius. Letters on Sunspots. The dynamic
sun. Letter to Christina, Letter to Foscarini.
January 27: Galileo: The Dialogue (excerpt performed in class). The trial (performed
in class).
February 3: Newton’s clockwork universe. Action at a distance. Gravity is unstable.
Exoplanets. Defending planet Earth.
February 10: The third dimension. Across the Milky Way. Hubble and the nature of
February 17: A brief history of vision. Light: wave or corpuscle? The mysterious realm
of the quantum. Schrödinger’s cat (dead, alive, or both?). Heisenberg is
Galaxies and the Universe Reading: Hogan, The Little Book of the Big Bang
February 24: Hubble discovers the expansion of space. The cosmological principle. An
explosion without a center or an edge. Space and time. Einstein’s Theories
of Relativity.
March 3:
Complete history of the universe (abridged). Age of the universe. Cosmic
inflation. Nucleosynthesis. Cosmic radiation. Disturbing the vacuum.
March 10:
The dark side of the universe. A universe from nothing. Extra dimensions.
What is time? Final Paper due.