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Lecture DescriptionProfessor Bailyn begins the class with a discussion of a recent New York Times article about the discovery of a new, earth-like planet. He then discusses concepts such as epicycles, dark energy and dark matter; imaginary ideas invented to explain 96% of the universe. The Anthropic Principle is introduced and the possibility of the multiverse is addressed. Finally, biological arguments are put forth for how complexity occurs on a cosmological scale. The lecture and course conclude with a discussion on the fine differences between science and philosophy.
Course DescriptionThis course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.
- Tests of Relativity
- Hubble's Law and the Big Bang
- Our Solar System and the Pluto Problem
- Special and General Relativity
- Supermassive Black Holes
- Planetary Orbits
- Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe and the Big Rip
- Introduction to Black Holes
- Introduction to Introduction to Astrophysics
- Dark Matter
- Direct Imaging of Exoplanets
- Stellar Mass Black Holes (cont.)
- Omega and the End of the Universe
- Microlensing, Astrometry and Other Methods
- Stellar Mass Black Holes
- Hubble's Law and the Big Bang (cont.)
- Planetary Transits
- The Multiverse and Theories of Everything
- Special and General Relativity (cont.)
- Discovering Exoplanets: Hot Jupiters
- Other Constraints: The Cosmic Microwave Background
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